[UPDATE, August 6, 2009: We can now also call this the trade-off between the visions of Robert Scoble, who just dumped 104,000 followers, and Marshall Kirkpatrick, who is "(…) a big believer in oversubscibing and then creating groups based on priority and context (…)"
I agree with Marshall; I think it's okay to dip into the river of news when the urge arises – while accepting that we can't read everything. BTW, he seems to have developed pretty sophisticated methods to be alerted when the tastiest fish swim by.
At the same time I must grant to Robert that most of us don't get the same amount of spam he does.]
My mind has been going back and forth about reciprocity among followers on Twitter. I think of it as a trade-off between Jay Rosen's and Guy Kawasaki's position.
Jay wants people to follow him who are really interested in what he has to say – and I infer that he presumably also follows only people he finds interesting. Jay also, immediately, requested to be taken off Twitter's Suggested Users List.
Guy calls it a matter of common courtesy to return "follows", plus he regards Twitter as a broadcast marketing channel. In short, Jay is looking for relevance, while Guy is looking to maximize reach.
So I decided to follow everyone on Twitter who follows me. With the exception of objectionable spam, which I block and report when I see it.
I chose to maximize reach because a lot of stuff I tweet links back to my blog or my shared reading. This is stuff I'd like to converse about and if I can grab more people's attention, that adds value to me – at least at this stage.
I also considered that there will be other ways to filter for relevance, such as subscribing to feeds from part of my Twitter followers, then filtering those by content.
I must admit that I don't use Twitter as a very interactive, engaged, conversational medium. Must of the time when I engage in dialog with people online, it's over email, via Skype, in blog comments, in Ning.com sites, or on Facebook.
I do hope to increase the significance of "live web" services in the mix, e.g. by engaging more actively on FriendFeed. And perhaps on Twitter once I get those filtered feeds sorted.