Yes, I really am interested in what you are having for dinner.
My favorite part of traveling across Europe by rail was being seated with total strangers in compartments or facing seats. You conversed. You listened, you learned. Opportunities like this are rare in the USA. You're never seated at a restaurant table with strangers. Make contact with someone you don't know - and you often get the Travis Bickle treatment.
Patches the Pony said "Nay Nay, from strangers stay away." whilst kicking the living shit out of a sexual predator's car door. People fear that talkative strangers have an evil agenda . I'm distrustful myself. My first reaction is, "What does this person want from me?" Are you selling me something? Are you a panhandler? I think I'm being hit on if the conversation is started by the guy at the adjacent urinal. Sometimes (er, often) I'm having a misanthropic moment and don't want to talk to anyone. Sure. I've had a few pleasant exchanges with fellow citizens, but the mutual distrust prevalent in these parts has deprived us of many more.
The part of Twitter that encourages dialogue between strangers appeals to me the most. Everyday face-to-face conversation between friends and family is certainly treasured but is isolating. I'm encouraged to follow someone on Twitter because I find their patter to be entertaining, informative, or refreshing. It is understood that I am not looking for nookie or a BFF. I just want to read what people I don't know are saying. Holding a common interest is not prerequisite to gaining my follow. I don't want to be a guru and I don't need a guru. If I'm following you, I'm reading you.
Just following me isn't going to get you an automatic follow back. Spammers get blocked right off. I'm leery of those who already are following 5000 people and somehow need me in their collection for I am not a MtG card. I allow you to follow, but you'll have to show me some love. If I reply to one of your tweets and don't get acknowledgement, you're blocked.
Most folks will get a follow-back after a day or two . A percentage get immediate reciprocation. These folks put a little consideration into following me.
I am very selective about those I seek to follow. There are a few Twitter celebs that offer such good information that I am not expecting them to follow me back. (Right now, consulting thesaurus for synonym: following.) I have a few folks on board that seem to provide good links to interesting content. A few Twitterers keep me abreast of local events and trends. Some, of course, are friends and relatives.
My cache of Twitter treasures include those with unique views. They are literate. They are not self absorbed. They are unguarded in their messages. They don't care how many people are following them. They are discriminating when following back. These are the kind of people I want in my group. Strangers on a train.
I wrote this in response to those who try to impose their will on Twitter. I don't see the need for tips on how to gain more followers. I do not want to recite the Twitter commandments you have brought down from your lofty mountain. I do not want to be in your inbred group that constantly retweets each other. I don't give a shit about how many followers you have. I do not need to read about your disdain for those who clog up Twitter with non-marketing content. I do want to read about what you had for dinner.