First of all, Scott pegged it perfectly - "Twitter is a river, not a lake", it changes how we communicate and using preexisting technologies as examples of how to use it can be dangerous. Dip your ladle in and take what you can, make sure that what you put in it is clean, safe and usable for those downstream and don't get upset if your contribution just flows on past - it happens.
Let's get on with it...
If you want me to follow you:
- Put a picture on your profile of you or your brand. Also, Twitter is not so much like FaceBook where you might change your profile picture for fun - find one you like and only change it when completely necessary. That picture is often how I know to stop and read your tweet while quickly scanning my time-line.
- When I see the twitter bird I move on. When I see one of the few dozen hot women pictures that spammers use I block it.
- Fill in your profile bio. When you write it think about what you would want to know about someone if you were deciding to follow them or not. Who are you and what is important to you. Indicating where you are is a plus (and not completely necessary) only if you have a descriptive bio.
- Give me a link to your website (if you have one) - if I'm not sure based on what I see on your time-line and bio I go there.
- If you use a URL shortener for your website link consider yourself blocked. If you can't show me where I am going when I go see your site then you must not want me to see it - gone.
- Tell me that you know how to get me hundreds or thousands of followers and your blocked. I'll just say it - people like you are sucking the life out of Social Networking.
- Show me that you interact with the people you currently follow. I'm OK with one-dimensional brand Twitter accounts (I expect Jimmy John's or Confluence Coffee to mostly talk about their businesses), but when I see 25 straight posts about "herbal enhancement products" that's a quick block.
- If you're new - do this stuff above (a good, quality picture and bio) and show me that you have started using Twitter. Share your thoughts, add to the flood of comments about things going on and just be honest.
- Share information that is important to you and that would be important to everyone else. See something happening around you that's of interest - snap a picture and share it with the rest of us. Have something to say about the current news of the day - chime in!
- If you are following 1,000 people and have 2 followers that's problem. Think about the EBay seller that has sold 1,000 items and has %50 rating - would you buy from them?
- I've been immersed in Twitter enough to pick out fake accounts and one of the giveaway's is seeing 15 stereotypical tweets from a new Twitterer - real Twitterers don't have a specific style!
- When I see a pattern of tweets from you that get me thinking that the only thing you are interested in is getting traffic to your site/blog/whatever or so you might get some more followers then I get tired and will eventually dump you.
- When you can't express yourself without spewing out fowl language then you're gone. Do I believe and occasional curse in exclamation is a big deal - no - but, use your brain in figure out how to communicate without being offensive.