In explaining Twitter to people (something I seem to be a doing a lot lately), one of the questions I get the most is, "So who should I follow?" I've long wished for a tool, myself, that would let me bulk-add cool people to my network. Over the holidays I checked out two new tools designed to do that.
The first is AutoPack, an offshoot of wiki-based Twitter directory called Twitter Pack. AutoPack is a long list of Twitter user accounts broken into categories (such as Quotations, Lawyers, and Green Building). The directory itself is incomplete, but what's cool is that you can sign up for everyone in a category at once. This is the way signing up to follow Twitter users should be: find a flock, and sign up to all the cool people in it. Otherwise you'll just end up following a piece of the general conversation. I'd like to see this concept developed further, and as I said, the directory content itself needs work.
There's a another new tool that I've found very useful: Mr. Tweet. This one analyzes your current network of Twitter followers and followees and identifies other people who are influential in your circle. I tried it against my account and it found people I know and respect that I wasn't following--a win, in my book.
Mr. Tweet also provides useful stats on the people it finds for you. It shows you who else you know that follows them, how often they update their feeds, and how many followers they have (although, as has been discussed, that's no indication of Twitter quality).
Like AutoPack, Mr. Tweet will do the lifting and follow the people it finds for you if you let it. You do have to give the site (and AutoPack) your Twitter ID and password if you want it to do this, however. This illustrates the poor security model of Twitter. The service really needs a more secure system, like OAuth, for dealing with third-party enhancements. People are getting to used to typing their Twitter passwords in to non-Twitter services, and scammers are taking advantage of this.
That said, I like Mr. Tweet, and recommend it.