I am at a crossroads with where I want to go with Twitter. It all has to do with what you can use Twitter for. Unfortunately, the two things are sort of mutually exclusive.
There are two schools of thought when dealing with Twitter. 1) Follow as many people as possible in an effort to get as many followers as possible. 2) Only follow the people you actually know or want to talk to.
You will find many of the people in the top 100 most followed Twitter users take the first approach and have tens of thousands of friends. If you follow them, they will follow you. The problem with this approach is that you cannot listen to tens of thousands of people. I tried this once and got to about 500 people before I gave up. I was missing what people were saying and couldn’t focus on the people I wanted to listen to. Once you have over 500 “friends” you are using Twitter for marketing and broadcasting more than for communications. You can’t have individual conversations with that many people, no matter what you say. Not at a personal level at least. It is however, probably the superior way to use Twitter to increase your exposure.
The second option lets you talk to people and follow all the tweets of the people you want to listen to. You wont have hundreds or thousands of people drowning out the voices of those who are important to you. The downside is that you probably wont reach as wide an audience as if you took the shotgun approach.
I currently follow about 100 people and have almost 2,100 followers. Of those 100 people, about half are people who either don’t know me or are people I never talk to. That 100 could easily be 50 or less if I really wanted to pare things down. Most of the people I talk to on Twitter read this site on a regular basis 🙂
Ideally, I could get the best of both worlds if I could create a client side “super friend” where I could pay extra special attention to people I really want to watch.
I am leaning to turning auto-follow back on, then using Friendfeed as my method of following the people I actually want to follow. That would be the optimal solution. Most of the people who contact me I do not follow, so it is all done via reply. That would probably stay the same if I followed a ton of people, as following too many is functionally the same is not following at all.