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A longtime tradition on Twitter is a weekly meme called Follow Friday, where on Fridays you recommend people to follow to your existing followers. Follow Friday is normally done by cramming as many usernames into a tweet as possible and somehow managing to shoehorn a #FF hashtag in there as well. Example:

Follow Friday blog post

The problem with Follow Friday tweets is that you rarely, if ever, get any kind of context or reason why you should be following this list of otherwise random people. You also usually don’t get a full list of who you should be following as you run out of space really quickly.

So how do you make Follow Friday more interesting and useful? Start by making some context-relevant Twitter lists on a service like TweepML, or with Twitter’s built-in lists. Why not make a list of coworkers or friends on a service like TweepML.org? See how much more relevant that is? You know why each person on that list is there… and at the bottom of the page, in just a couple of clicks, you’re following everyone on the list.

Want to kick it up a notch? Let’s say you find a list of interesting folks to follow on Twitter. Take a look at this page on TweepML, the list creation page. See the “Find users on this link” box?

New TweepML

Paste in the list URL (example shown) and hit find. Now you’ve got a list of that list for your own Follow Friday efforts. Once you click through to the list’s page after you create it, it’s just one more click and you’re following those folks.

Follow Friday blog post

Powerful, eh? Who else should you follow? Follow people who are relevant to you and who are of interest to you. How do you know who this is? Here are some suggestions.

1. People who mention your domain name or company name:

blueskyfactory.com - Twitter Search

Remember, don’t just go manually clicking and following these folks. That’s a waste of time. Add them via the find by URL to your TweepML Follow Friday list, right?

Follow Friday blog post

2. People who reply to you. Search your username on search.twitter.com and then, yes, copy the URL into the find by URL box.

3. People tweeting nearby you. After all, there’s a good chance you might actually run into them. Copy them into your TweepML Follow Friday list.

Follow Friday blog post
via Advanced Twitter Search

4. People tweeting with specific keywords.

Follow Friday blog post
Also part of Advanced Twitter Search

5. People at an event you’re at (or might be). Here’s an example using Jeff Pulver’s #140conf (which I’ll be speaking at on Tuesday).

New TweepML

Once you’ve assembled your Follow Friday TweepML list, follow it yourself to start engaging with people who might be of interest to you, and then share it with the rest of the world on Follow Friday instead of a useless list of user names that has no meaning.

Happy Follow Friday!

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