Why #FF Is Cute….But I won???t Use It Anymore

In Uncategorized on February 18, 2011 at 8:53 pm

I assume this post will be read because people are usually stirred by two things instantly: curiosity and ego (evidence:  I noticed that the blog entry that got almost instant reads – over 500- was the one mentioning Edublog awards).


Before I proceed I have a confession to make: I am a sort of an asocial being. I get along way better with kids. And I dislike words like “award”, “prize”, “punishment”, “boss”. OK, these are three confessions.



With that in mind…let me tell you why #FF is a sort of strange graphic creature to me. #FF is bipolar.



#FF celebrates excellence

Not always. It also celebrates cliques. Or friendship (which is completely subjective).

#FF is based on objective skills, knowledge and inspiration

Not always. It is sometimes based on how often you RT someone’s blog entry or tweet.

You might think that there is a dose of envy lurking within me that prompted me to write this post…Not at all.

What actually got me write it was a realization: Twitter, like any other social media channel, is a matter of being active in this medium. And that, in as much as promotes leadership and excellence, also discourages the community. Paradoxically so. It connects and disconnects. People whose blog posts are interesting or at least genuine remain peripheral. They never get the chance to get into the conversation…because the “leaders” rarely if ever bother to read them and encourage their thinking, work, experience, effort.

What follows is that…the conversation is becoming a monopoly. And that really tires me out…People who RT the same people over and over again.


I value everyone in my PLN. That is why I have a hard time to label them through a hashtag.

There are the geeks who bring us all the new cool stuff…and then the reflective philosophers of education who have a great vision…and then the artists that make our soul dance once in a while…and the conversationalist types that can brighten your day sometime…and the educator who needs help…and…and…

If they are on my list…they mean something to me. I do not need to #FF them.

If they are not…then it doesn’t mean they are not worthy. They simply do not get into my radar of interest.


You might say, “But (s)he is a poor blogger “. Or, “(s)he does not inspire me at all”. I can agree on that…but then…I remember my students who lack some skills at a certain point in time. If I marginalize them…they would never get the motivation to go on. Or try again.

Besides…not ALL blog posts of the most experienced bloggers are great ALL the time…


I am new to blogging myself. And I do not do it for popularity (I dislike SM as a form of self-advertisement) …but because I am happy if a single person can take something from me and use it…try it in their classroom. And improve their lessons. Or get inspired.


I am certain that this post will get many readers drop me. I know anyone and anything can be misjudged. And I can live with it.


While loving my PLN. Regardless of its size. 

*Smile a little now … because it’s weekend. 🙂


  1. I don’t do #FF recommendations either. Like you I value different members of my PLN for different reasons. I’d find it difficult to select individuals and bulk recommendations become meaningless. And it’s ridiculous the way some people keep recommending each other over and over, isn’t it? Personally I’m more appreciative of genuine thoughtful comments on my blog. It’s no different than the classroom. Meaningless praise like ‘well done’ and ‘good work’ achieve nothing. Feedback needs to be constructive and meaningful and promote further dialog.Yours isn’t the first post I have read about ‘leaders’ on twitter, people who feel excluded.. that sort of thing. I just don’t get it. How do you define leaders? The more active people? I follow the people I want to follow, talk to the people I want to talk to. If blogs are interesting and thought provoking, I read them and tweet them, irrespective of who wrote them. Doesn’t everyone? I have never had anyone not respond when I engaged with them. Have you?

  2. Hi Edna, The problem is not that I feel excluded, but that I watch many people in my PLN who are true learners – despite their blogging skills (which can vary). And I think they should be taken into consideration by the "active" tweeters – you should know how important is validation from them and how fast the traffic to their blogs increases afterwards. As for comments, I rarely comment because I literally do not find the time. I read the blog entry and tweet about it so others would know I value it. Besides, I bookmark the blogs in my Google Reader so I can keep the "treasure"close and easy to manage. I share them both on Twitter and on my Google Profile.

  3. * I certainly did NOT choose this word limit in my settings. Argh. Checking now.*

  4. I don’t do #FF and it does feel like a popularity contest sometimes to read those FF posts. There are better ways to thank people and be less gushy while doing it. I look at twitter feeds in spare moments – not all day. I follow all sorts of educators for different reasons. Sometimes I retweet something, more often I tweet a blog or site I find. I often, without realising it, create more mentions of someone as my posts wind up in twitter dailies – I can’t take the credit for giving mention in those dailies – they are automatic…yet people thank me for the mentions. I appreciate that – Truly I do. But I am not ‘choosing’ to mention them in dailies – it just happens – because I tweeted their blog and that got retweeted and therefore popular perhaps. If I read a blog and maybe tweet it to share it I am saying ‘hey teachers I got something out of this – maybe you will too’ This is my way of thanking the blogger – they need readers to make their efforts are worthwhile. A well thought out comment is the best reward. Tweets help bring the reader to do that. It’s easy to ‘tweet this’ buttons are everywhere. It takes effort and time to stop and write a well thought out comment. Unfortunately many good blogs I read get bookmarked and shared, but I am not commenting enough – I will perhaps change my ways a bit in that regard – as I am now. One a day could work for me. I am not in it for popularity – I am in it to learn and network, to improve what happens in my classroom and faculty. Hw do i choose out of all those I follow a few to thank on friday when they all contribute in some small way?Doesn’t everyone answer?… Ed I am an Australian Teacher often looking for Australian support…Aussie teachers using twitter are still a bit of a rare breed and I do not always get an answer to some topics – if it is web 2.0 I do (thanks to wonderful intenational fellowship) ; if it is specific to curriculum in my state then I do not necessarily get support. But this is another topic about a twitter pitfall deserves discussion elsewhere. Thankyou Cristina and Ed for giving me the chance to get that off my chest 🙂

  5. Thank you for the comment, Jenny. 🙂 I can empathize with you on not having fellow Romanians (in my case) active on Twitter. I can’t get the staff at my own school tweet let alone blog – too much time and effort, they say. I tried in the past year repeatedly and failed…I am however at peace with that – I truly did try to persuade them. I take though as a learning lesson: not all people are alike and I might lack the needed social skills.Cheers!

  6. I rarely if ever do the #ff thing, but not because I have a well-articulated reason as you do here. I just forget! My PLN is such that I have so many people in there helping me, inspiring me, encouraging me, sharing, etc. that I lose track of everyone that has been there and for fear of leaving someone out (I suppose that’s the teacher in me), I just don’t do it. Often times I’ll tweet something like "I really appreciate all the help I’ve been getting from @___" when someone has gone above and beyond to respond to me. I think the idea behind #ff is well-intentioned in the education arena…people want to encourage others to follow those that have helped them, but you might be right in that it encourages the big names to keep rising to the top and the folks under the radar to stay there.

  7. Thanks Cristina…npw there is an idea…I may lack social skills:) …oh wait…I am with pickled treats – I lose track and simply do not have the time. If I did have the time I don’t think I would be working as a teacher struggling to keep up with changes in pedagogy, students, changes in curriculum, and keeping some semblance of balance between all that and life. Cest la vie…I thank where I can.

  8. I am relatively new to Twitter and Blogging so I don’t #FF because I only recently understood what it meant but the more I get involved the more I feel like I am trying to belong to an exclusive club. I rarely retweet because the followers I have are already following the original tweeter. My blog is mostly reflective and there to encourage others to think or perhaps feel validated in their thinking. That is what I got out of your entry today. So …. thank you very much for making me feel not so much alone!

  9. Thank you for the comments, pickedtreats (by the way, catchy Twitter ID! 🙂 and Debbie.Regardless of people’s choice of using the #FF or not -which I respect – I still think everyone is a contributor to collective knowledge. Hence my perhaps exaggerated reaction. 🙂

  10. A beautiful post. You made my soul dance. (But I’m still not sure what #ff is. Not a problem, I presume)

  11. You made my soul dance. (But I’m still unsure as to what #ff is, not that it matters!)

  12. *smiling here* #FF stands for " Follow Friday" – a hashtag used to convey the value-adders (people who are worth following) in your PLN.

  13. Cliques can be found everywhere there are ambitious folk. Ambition is fine providing it’s inclusive…cliques are the antithesis of that, of course. Balzac wrote a lot about ambitious and selfish people. Someone should write a modern day version of Cousin Bette.

  14. #FF helped in the beginning when I was trying to navigate my way, but once you #FF someone, you’ve left someone out and I’m certainly not ok with that. You are spot on comparing it to award ceremonies and such in schools. I #FF our profession, my PLN now and in the future and celebrate all the good things that are happening in classrooms around the world! So, #FF to lifelong learners, risk takers and agents of change!

  15. Cristina, I love and respect your honesty here! I used to use #ff often. I would try to not forget anyone, and ultimately, I’d always forget someone. I used #ff in different ways though. Sometimes it was to recognize those people that contribute a lot, and sometimes, it was to encourage those that are new to Twitter to stick with it. Over the past year, I’ve been horrible at #ff, as I honestly don’t have time to do this. Sometimes I try a #ff tweet to recognize my "entire PLN," and sometimes I don’t do anything. I appreciate the #ff’s that I receive, but am not upset when I don’t receive them. Our online identity needs to be about more than this recognition. I think your post can be a good reminder of this. Thanks for getting me thinking!Aviva

  16. Hi Aviva, I think you are spot on: "Our online identities need to be about more than this recognition."Thank you for stopping by and for taking time to comment.

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