Everyone else on Twitter has their rant post, here is mine. :)
A couple times a week I do something I call "fishing for followers". It's simple. I load up tweepi (at http://tweepi.com) and click on follow. I enter a persons twitter name (someone who I like to follow) and look over their list of followers. And either I strike gold, or wonder if I hit a spam factory.
I do follow back about 90% of the people that follow me. I don't auto follow. When someone follows me, I check out their profile and if something catches my eye. I follow. But there are some profiles I will never click on. No profile pic, no bio are the quickest ways to lose me. After I click on your bio; if it's all links, I'm gone. If its a few lines of random things like: "can you hear me now" "Rather than go with all the rigmarole" "Charlie went through the door", Bye. Nothing but quotes, you lost me.*
I have come to the conclusion, that some people only want the high follower numbers and not quality followers. This has happened to me more than once. I check out the follower list of someone I have enjoyed following. And most of the people following them, are people I would not. For the reasons listed above. I have unfollowed a few because of that discovery. Because to me, they are after the high numbers. They don't care if spammers make up most of their list.
I have made exceptions for my rules. There are a couple of people I engage with that don't have profile pictures. One admitted she is too lazy to put one up and never put a picture up on any of her social sites. I do follow some link filled profiles, but they are specialized links. Such as a horror film site I love. A couple of people will put up quotes, but again they are specialized. And one person I follow makes up his quotes (his way of getting back at the quote-bots), so I get a giggle out of them.
So I look for quality when I go fishing. I want someone that is engaging. I want someone that has the same interests as I do, or might find my books interesting. I want to have the chance to make a online friendship with this person. The growth of my followers, might not be as impressive as someone else, but I can guarantee reading my feed is a lot more fun.
Other than an interesting stream, why do I take the extra time? Because if people find me interesting, they are going to pass my name on. If they like my books, they will tell others. You are not going to get that interaction with a spammer or a self centered twitter that only talks about themselves.. And it goes both ways. I will gladly retweet and recommend someone, just because I like them. But I have to get to know you. Random lines, quotes, excessive links, and spammy retweets, won't get you that.
This is why a site like tweepi is so important. When I get that list of people, it not just names. I can search by when the last time they used twitter. How many links have they sent. If they rt a lot (can be a good thing, but might be a bot) and the Klout score. I might miss a couple of people, but I can avoid the twitters that I do not want to deal with.
*There are tons of auto twitter programs out there. The random lines and the quotes are a good sign that someone is using one of these programs. One I stumbled upon will even take random lines from blogs to make it look like the fake profile has been tweeting. I use automatic tweets too, but not for all my tweets. I use mine to promote my books or to help me promote something special (such as the fund raising for Authors for Japan). If that profile looks like it is all automated, stay away.