Since then I've been deluged with standardized 'Hey! thanks for following' direct messages and spammy mentions. Each and every time I've blocked the sender for good. It doesn't matter who they are, this is a seriously bad practice.
I have to confess that I don't thank people for following me each and every time and I only start conversations with people I'm interested in, or people who I have caught saying something I relate to. I tweet my blog and love the response, tweet links to articles I think are amusing or interesting and anyone who follows my tweets will know that my favourite quote is the Schultz one about love and chocolate.
I sound-bite more than necessary (or others are interested in, I'm sure) about music, travelling and great restaurants, all of which I love, and there are some co-twitterers I talk to at least every week, if not every day.
Twitter is about engagement via conversations, information and joint interests. People follow and are followed because of who they are, what they do, and, to my mind, how genuine they are.That's not to say that Twitter isn't or shouldn't be a great marketing tool, we all know only too well that it is but the spam and spammers have to be dealt with firmly the moment they appear - a tall task in twitterworld.
So if you want me to follow you and not block you please don't bother to send me a standard 'thank you' - I can recognise these every single time, and if you send me a mention or a message with a link and I don't know you, you will be blocked immediately and sent on your way as fast as possible. Both to my mind are seriously bad practice.