The Power of the Follow
If it’s #followfriday (#ff), this must be Twitter. #followfriday is when folks who Tweet list names of folks they think other Tweeters might want to follow. This custom has a sweet history. Michah Baldwin, the originator, says,
It wasnt hard for people to suggest folks to follow, because everyone has people they follow that they find interesting, insightful, funny, intelligent or whatever it is that makes you love to interact with another person (online or off).
Then came #teachertuesday, when folks were (are?) called on to list educators who would be interesting to follow.
I’ve been a little leery of the custom. Sure, it’s gratifying to get listed– who didn’t want to be one of the cool kids in high school? But when people keep recommending the same people, who in turn recommend people from the same circles, etc., what’s that about?
Probably these folks really like and admire each other. Probably they– we– just love lists. For example, I can predict with some accuracy that I’ll bookmark a site with a headline like this:
- 25 Sites We Can’t Live Without
- 20 Free Web Apps for the 2.0 Student
- 27 of the Most Comprehensively Compiled Social Media Guides
Or, maybe we just want guarantees: we want to be sure that we get the most valuable information. After all, since there is so much out there, we want to know what the best is. This is true of everything from movies and restaurants to pediatricians and… education blogs?
- 50 Best Blogs for Education Leaders
- Determining the Top Education Blogs
- Best Education Blogs for 2010
As the tsunami of information continues to swell, it becomes less possible for all of us to know the same things. Do you feel that rumbling beneath your feet? That’s just everything we once felt sure of, breaking open.
I think lists counteract the feeling of overwhelm or helplessness in the face of TMI (Too Much Information) or TLC (Too Little Certainty.) After all, if there’s a list, it means there’s Someone Out There Who Knows and Something We (All) Should Know.
Recommending the same folks over and over reminds me of circling the wagons on a new frontier.
And still, with every dawn, that wagon train uncurls. It pulls out again.