The blue line, however, tells a more interesting story: People who follow lots of people tend to have lots of followers themselves.

Let’s look at little closer at the follow-back assumption. The graph below shows the distribution of Twitter users at each following to follower ratio.

We see that most users have close to a 1:1 ratio of following to followers, meaning that many users follow-back those that follow them.

Even though Twitter allows for asymmetric relationships (following people who don’t follow you back) that CAN be quite useful from the perspective of the follower gathering information that they’d otherwise likely never come accross, it remains that social reciprocation is a basic expectation of SOCIAL media.

If you don’t follow back (obviously you can/should avoid following spammers & people that are just not a good fit for you), people must REALLY be dying to learn what you are saying to follow/keep following you. And even if you are in that lucky position, your follower number and reach will likely stay far below its true potential.

It’s just not a very social gesture to start things out with.

And you also will never know what you may have been missing. That goes for various celebrities and “Powerbrokers” as well. The insights to be gained, and unspoken/unconscious gratitude from/bond with the people you followed back and thereby validated are very likely to be much more valuable than the status game you appear to have be pursuing:

Presumably you already had status/authority before, else you wouldn’t be a (minor) celebrity. So therefore the only true reason I can see is that you (falsely) fear having your “real friends” tweetstream be drowned out, which leads me to think that you haven’t been paying attention to the various filtering mechanisms that now exist to make sure that that is not an issue (Tweetdeck groups being one of them).

You don’t really have to choose anymore between being social and being a “powerbroker”…