I have been on twitter since February 2007 as @NickHodge. Nearly 4 years. In that time, my account has gathered nearly 5000 followers. Whilst I have no accurate data on these followers: it is fair to say a majority are spambots or dormant accounts. There is absolutely no way I am that interesting to 5000 people.
Considering my twitter persona has been cheeky and somewhat iconoclastic, even to my present employer; and the content of 90% of my tweets are not related to work — I find it surprising to gather so many pieces of moss.
5000 followers does put the @NickHodge account into the top 20% of Australian twitterers. Being an open (not locked) account, this puts my utterances on twitter into the funnel for social media monitoring engines. Their systems will determine my follower count (and retweet count, and other metrics) puts me into a "must watch" list.
I base this assessment on my work use of social media monitoring engines. Keywords, key people. Associated, and you are prime bait for engines to watch filter and report to their corporate stakeholders.
Some people crave this attention. In fact, it is their life blood. I am perfectly fine with their need for followers, readers, fans if you will. But this is not for me. The direct association between my employer and what I say and think is not direct. At best, it is loosely coupled.
There is no quick mechanism to completely delete all your followers, and who you are following in twitter. As an immediate solution, I have suspended posting from the @NickHodge account and created @RealNickHodge. I am being strict as to whom I follow; the account is locked.
For me, it is back to feeling free to comment without the fear of causing collateral damage.