@FFHelper: Helpful Tool or Enabler of the Lazy

This is  a post that has been bouncing around my head for a while now, but is kind of a day specific post. Every time said day comes around I am either overwhelmed with work or sick (last week). Yet now, without further ado is my post.

Everybody knows the importance of Twitter to not just the Indie Author but (nowadays) business as a whole, and it would be redundant of me to go into this topic. Pick any blog out there, mine included and you will find at least one post that talks about this.

What I want to talk about are the applications that can be used on Twitter.  More specifically the Follow Friday Helper.

Obviously the key point about building up your platform is to expand your network on all social media platforms. Thanks to Hashtags Twitter makes this remarkably easy. Enter #FollowFriday. This simple little tag opens up everybody’s Twitterverse and allows you meet new people and thus expand your range. Everybody you mention in your tweet with this Hashtag will see each other, and a quick browse of name and a few clicks of the follow button, you can add 5 or 6 new names to your following list. Assuming an average of 2 returned followers per tweet, you can see how you can quickly increase your network.

However, entering the names of your favorite twitter friends can be a time-consuming job, especially once you get into the 1000’s of followers. I don’t know about you, but if I mention one person, I then feel guilty about not mentioning others etc. This is where the Follow Friday Helper comes in handy.

A separate web-based application that links directly with your twitter account and shows you who has communicated with you in the last x number of days. It shows your their name and bio, the number of personal mentions they gave you etc. Simply by clicking on each name they are added to a tweet and off you go. It’s simple, it’s quick, it allows you to capture everybody who mentioned you… a form of Twitter Karma if you will. However, it is also impersonal.

Building a platform is about connecting with people, showing people that you are human. The same as with blogs, it is important to reply to those who leave you a comment. Let them see you read what they had to say and that you don’t just leave a ‘programmed’ response to say thanks to everybody. It’s impersonal and will surely make people think twice about commenting in the future.

Twitter is no different.

I will admit that from time to time I have used the Follow Friday Helper, but simply because I wanted to ensure my mentions were sent out – that Karmic feeling again – but was simply too busy to do it. Plus I feel strange sending out #(Belated)FollowFriday wishes.

Yet every time I see it, you see that the program leaves itself a sneaky mention. Who can blame them its a golden advertising opportunity and is how I found about them. Every tweet you send using it includes the phrase (Via FFHelper) or something of that ilk. To me, this is kind of a glaring slap in the face. You are saying, I want to get more friends, I want a bigger following, but I’m not willing to go that extra mile, put that little bit of effort in to get there. As I said, once or twice is fine, and I have no objections because we all lead busy lives. We have families, and (for the most of us) real jobs that allow us to indulge our fantasies with books and novels. Sometimes there simply are not enough hours in the day.

Yet when you see the same people week after week sending out streams of (via @ffhelper) emails, you begin to wonder. Do they even know who I am, or are they just sending out my name to help grow their own list. Twitter works, or so I look at it, on a ‘you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours’ philosophy.

At the end of the day, I am in favor of these applications when they are used a tool when times really leave no other (acceptable) alternative. However, to those who use them as a standard, maybe you should question your motives for doing so.


6 thoughts on “@FFHelper: Helpful Tool or Enabler of the Lazy

  1. I agree with this 99%. I have used FF helper in the past, I used to copy and paste it in my stream minus the FFhelper part. It does help if you do not have a lot of time on your hands, but I have not been as #FF or #WW or #MM as I should be, Will have to work on that.

    1. Thanks for commenting Brian. I agree with you, and as I said, I am not against the helper, but it should be a back-up not a first choice for people. They may mean well, but as is life nowadays, first impressions are what many people work from.

  2. I send out #WW and #FF weekly and never use this. I’d rather not be recognized on a Friday if someone cannot take the time to do it. There are other ways to connect.


    1. Precisely Eden. I have used it but it was a last resort. I’d been MIA petty much all week and wanted to do something, but I know that on that occasion my motives were to help not self promote.

      Every timeI see the Helper in a shout I always feel dubious as the the Tweeters intentions.
      Thanks for dropping by Eden, you company is always appreciated.

  3. Glad I read this. I’ve been using Twitter in a fairly haphazard way to promote my travel blog but am not particularly computer literate. I try to observe the niceties and respond whenever I’m followed or retweeted but I find it horribly time consuming and would far rather be writing or out there in the real world. I try to regard it as a learning process, which it undoubtedly is, for me. And of course, it is very nice to reach new people.

    So now I know how to use #FF. Thanks Alex

    1. I am glad I could help you there Jo. It took me a while before I got used to the #FF and #WW tags. Also the #MM although I never took part in the Monday Mentions (or at least that’s what I told myself it meant). Thanks for dropping by and commenting. I truly appreciated you taking the time to do so.

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