I’d have to mostly disagree. If you only follow the same 100 people, there will be so much that you’re missing.

As you already point out, it is virtually impossible to process every tweet for even just 50-100 determined/active tweeters one might follow. I’ve previously called this the “following myth”, i.e. that it could be accomplished at nearly any number.

(Even if you have people from whom you expect top/relevant content all of the time as you describe, you will already have to apply some filtering/choosing. So really you are arguing for the limitations of your current filtering tools.)

So the key becomes a mixture of filtering (for keywords that are of particular interest to you, #hashtags as content grouping devices of sorts, etc.) and serendipity. You discover a new follower more fully when you make them your friend, and check out their bio, sample of past tweets, blog/site link, asf.

Over time, the law of averages means that you will hear from most of them in some way, and may then choose to interact/converse to deepen the connection. If something someone just said stands out to you, you often THEN refresh your overview of their profile and drill deeper into what they’ve been talking about recently.

Over time you pick up on patterns of people’s tweeting style, and a lot of information can/will be processed unconsciously even if you don’t read with a lot of intention. Your mind works much faster under the hood than your conscious mind can keep track of.

Also, your reach will always be limited if you’re not following back most people that follow you (subject to reasonable exclusions of spammers or people that just don’t apear as a good fit). Again, you cannot up front know what goodies will be sent your way from everyone, and that is a good thing. The only way you know is if you only follow a relatively tight inner circle, which then becomes somewhat boring/predictable. It may even be a form of group think…

Also, he may wish to consult with the likes of @unmarketing… 🙂