Lately my inbox has been pounded (at least SOMETHING is getting pounded around here) with notifications from Twitter that a fellow user has decided to "follow" me.
For the non-initiated, this means that some Twitterers have subscribed to my Twitter timeline so that my "tweets" appear on their Twitter pages, or on their cellphones via SMS if they so choose. Initially, I was really flattered by this influx of new "followers", because I thought it meant that folks were finding my tweets entertaining enough to want to be notified whenever I posted a new one. (Hey, it could happen!)
Sadly, this is only the case about 2% of the time.
While the "follow" option is meant to connect Twitter users with similar interests and spark interaction between them, more and more often commercial entities are setting up Twitter accounts and using the feature to blast unsolicited advertising messages (AKA SPAM) to unsuspecting "followers." This works because good Twitter etiquette dictates that you return-follow a user who has chosen to follow you.
That being said, I've always been pretty selective about who I follow (Dr. Darling's influence, no doubt) even though I know doing so limits my Twitter experience somewhat. I check out the user's profile before I commit to following them, and if they themselves are following massive numbers of users (as all commercial accounts tend to do), it's a pretty good bet they have no interest in knowing that I got stuck sitting between two stinky drunk people on my commute home from the office.
On the other hand, perhaps that's exactly the kind of tweet that prompted user BeerOfTheDay to start following me?