What is #ff?

One of the most confusing things for people who are new to Twitter is:

What is the “#” followed by strange words or letters and, in particular, what is “#ff”?

I have  even met people who have been on Twitter some time and still don’t know!  If you are starting out on Twitter or see your friends’ Twitterstreams fed into Facebook, it looks like everyone is speaking in code!

Very simply, the # symbol followed by something is called a hashtag. It is a simple way of grouping or uniting topics that people are talking about.  Hashtags were created by the Twitter community as a way of categorising topics into fields by tagging them.  You create a hashtag simply by prefixing a word with a hash symbol.

Each hashtag becomes a hyperlink which means by simply clicking on the hashtag you can follow the conversation of everyone using that hashtag.

And what is #ff?  Well, it is called “Follow Friday” which has been abbreviated over time to just the letters.  In theory, on Friday people recommend people that they think are good to follow.  In practice, it has lost a lot of its meaning.

This is what you what you will see many people people do.

This person has used the hashtag #ff and followed it by a string of  Twitter names.  There is no indication whatsoever of why anyone should follow any one of these people.

If you want to recommend someone to follow, do it!  Give a reason for people to follow them.

When I started out on Twitter, I used to diligently follow the people who were mentioned in an #ff with me, but now only follow people if I am given a good reason.  Follow Friday is a nice idea, but at the moment it seems to be an excuse for people just to string a list of their followers.  If you follow someone who is interesting, why not send out Twitter love by giving them a #ff, but put some thought behind it.

Hashtags are fun once you get used to them and they can be very useful too.  If you would like to find out more about hashtags, this post explains How to use Hashtags, click here to read it.

If you are new to Twitter and would like my Understanding Twitter Jargon Guide, just leave a comment below and I will email one to you.

Nicky Kriel

Nicky Kriel

Nicky Kriel is a Social Media Coach & Trainer inspiring, educating and empowering Business Owners to use Social Media more strategically. She is also the author of How to Twitter for Business Success. For more information visit http://www.nickykriel.com or to find out about her courses that she runs in Guildford visit http://www.nickykriel.com/courses

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Nicky Kriel

Nicky Kriel is a Social Media Coach & Trainer inspiring, educating and empowering Business Owners to use Social Media more strategically. She is also the author of How to Twitter for Business Success. For more information visit http://www.nickykriel.com or to find out about her courses that she runs in Guildford visit http://www.nickykriel.com/courses

sue ritchie - February 25, 2011

Morning Nicky
Thanks for a very informative post- the idea of giving reasons for #ff is really good, and makes more sense than just producing lists of people which is what i have been guilty of! I didn’t realise by clicking on the # you could the conversation either.
Lots of ideas to put into use

Richard Mathias - February 25, 2011

I was just asking myself that question (as a Twitterer of one week’s standing) and scrolled down a couple of posts to find that you had kindly answered it for me.

Thank you


oge - February 25, 2011

Cool post Nicky. Thanks for explaining to us newlyweds on Twitter

moira Upton - February 25, 2011

Thanks for explaining the hashtag and #ff. I use social media so infrequently I couldn’t suss these out at all!

Jan at Perfect Verse - March 4, 2011

Good article.

On a Friday I’ve noticed that many of the tweets I see are just full of names and hashtags. I don’t do anything about those; I’m far more likely to following someone if there is a reason given for following.

Good manners of course mean you should always thank people for the recommendation and some people do this by retweeting the whole list….which can make for a very boring bundle of tweets….

It’s daft really..I firmly believe twitter is all about individuality.

Thanks for posting this article Nicky :)

Lou Middleton - March 4, 2011

Thanks for the #FF info Nicky. Could you email me your twitter jargon guide please, it will be very handy. Kind regards.

Cat Craig - March 4, 2011

Thank you for that Nicky – you have been a great find on Twitter, helping newbies like me understand a bit more about how to use the Twitter community. Would love to receive your twitter jargon guide.

Many thanks again for very informative posts.

shaplandcoach - March 7, 2011

Hi Nicky
Yours was the best explanation of #ff I found when I googled it. Many thx. I’d be interested in any further clues re using twitter more efectively

    Nicky Kriel
    Nicky Kriel - March 7, 2011

    Thank you for that, Penny. Have you had a chance to look under the social media category of the blog, yet? There are plenty of articles that I hope you will find useful.

anne scardarella - March 11, 2011

Nicky # and #ff – simple and to the point, far superior to some of the wordy explanations I’ve read. A really great help for fledgling twitterers!

Daniela Horder - March 18, 2011

Now I finally understand what #ff means!
I’d been trying to figure it out for ages…. thanks Nicky.

dainekaniko - March 18, 2011

Thanks Nicky. I am trying to get my head round Twitter. It sounds like I need you Twitter guide! Kind regards Diane

Sally Relton Shakespeare - March 25, 2011

Thank you Nicky – you are a treasure! I’ve been tweeting for 3 years and still feel like I don’t know how to use Twitter properly.

    Nicky Kriel
    Nicky Kriel - March 25, 2011

    Hi Sally,
    Thank you for saying such lovely things. I have been surprised how many people who have been on Twitter for sometime are still confused by some of the jargon. I’ll pop the Understanding Twitter Jargon over to you and would love some feed back about it.

Julio - March 25, 2011

Thanks a lot Nicky. I will be more than happy and les ignorant if you e-mail me your Jargon Guide.

Sally Relton Shakespeare - March 25, 2011

thanks Nicky – I will certainly feed back when I’ve read the twitter jargon-buster!

Hannah Thompson - March 28, 2011

Thanks for the #ff and trending info. Only just getting back into tweeting, your twitter jargon guide will be very useful, can you email it to me please? Many thanks.

Tara - April 1, 2011

I would love your twitter jargon guide!! Thank you!

Sarah - April 1, 2011

Hi and thank you!! For finally explaining the #ff concept, I have been confused for months! I would love your Understanding Twitter Jargon Guide if you wouldn’t mind emailing it to me? Thanks again, Sarah

karki - April 9, 2011

I got what #FF is bt couldnt get why friday , not thursday or saturday or sunday? Is it just conventional or it goes by some twitter rule ?? Also can one do #FF on other days of the week?

    Nicky Kriel
    Nicky Kriel - April 9, 2011

    Hi Karki, the community makes the rules! #ff is Follow Friday, so it is a bit silly on any other day. There are other days when people recommend people to follow like Shoutout Sunday. You can do it any day you like!

Andy Matheson - April 15, 2011

Really helpful..
I would like a copy of your jargon guide… I also need to work out how to add the ‘follow me’ tag on my website..

karki - April 16, 2011

I was asking why do people prefer friday for the shoutouts? why not other days of the week like monday,tuesday or saturday or sunday? Is it a convention?

Catherine Jones - May 6, 2011

Finally! I have been trying to find a simple explanation for twitter conventions and this seems to fit the bill so I would very much like a copy

Lucy - May 7, 2011

Please send the “Understanding Twitter Jargon Guide” thank you.

Mitt - May 20, 2011

I would love to read your Understanding twitter jargon guide.

Thank you

Sue - May 20, 2011


Thanks for the info – could really do with your jargon guide.

Thank you.

Susan Cooksley - May 27, 2011

Great post Nicky – I never really understood #ff until now and like the idea of leaving a coment.

Gill Bonello - June 10, 2011

Hi Nicky, this is very helpful – I’ve been wondering for a while about #ff. I’m now following you thanks to my colleague @carolinelewis1. I will definitely retweet this and look forward to receiving your Twitter Jargon Guide. Cheers, Gill

Colleen Wilson - August 3, 2011

Would love a twitter jargon guide if you are still sending them out!
Thanks so much :)

Rebecca - August 12, 2011

Great article Nicky, would love the twitter jargon guide. Many thanks

Lee - August 12, 2011

Hi Nicky appreciate the article. It really helps to know the lingo….one tweet that’s got “newbie” written all over it and bangs goes 5 followers – but I will get there! pls share your twitter jargon guide

B Ware - August 12, 2011

I’d like your new to Twitter guide you mention in “What is #ff?” post. Thanks.

BigMart - August 26, 2011

Now I know about #ff that was puzzling me.

What is the difference between the arrows for re-tweets, and RT in front a message?

Would be grateful for the guide.

Many thanks.

Ali Bierman - September 2, 2011

Thanks for the clarification. I heard others explain it-you actually make sense.

I cannot figure out how to reach you to let you know I listed your blog for the Versatile Blogger Award. find the details here: http://su.pr/2nOqfY

Natasha Roberts - September 9, 2011

Thanks for this. I know that I clearly am seen as a new tweeter, so your guide would be great.

@zacpullen - September 30, 2011

Thanks for distinction on #ff strings & #ff’s with lurve ! ;-)

Julie Walton - October 21, 2011

Hi Nikky, I only found you the other day and am really pleased I did. You have given me so much useful info already. Always wondered what the #ff meant but never had the time or enthusiasm to find out. Thanks for this.

Martin Horswood - December 23, 2011

Thanks to your Tweet – I’m no longer in the dark as to what #ff is, and good timing I was just looking at my twitter feed and wandering what it was all about!

cc363 - March 2, 2012

Thanks for this – been tweeting for a while but learn so much from your blogs. I’d appreciate a copy of your guide too. Thanks again

Shari Kingston - April 27, 2013

Could I please get a copy of you Understanding Twitter Jargon?

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