Found this really simple, 7 step process on how to get started with Twitter. Forget following just the people you know, expand your reach, and find people who are interested in the same things you are:
1. Pick a topic the person is passionate about.
2. Go to http://search.twitter.com and run a search on the term.
3. Find an interesting tweet or post about the topic, and click through to the profile of the person who posted it. If the profile looks interesting, follow that person. Follow a few folks like this.
4. Start a conversation, reply to one of the posts as if you had started a conversation in line at the supermarket.
5. Look for someone sharing a useful website or blog post related to the topic, click through to the blog and consider subscribing to it. Maybe reply to the author via comment or back on Twitter to let them know what you thought.
6. Spend a few minutes in the conversation and see what happens. Try again the next day.
The real value comes in networking at geek oriented events. A whole other conversation is going on at most conferences among those on Twitter. Find out if there is a hashtag, signified with a # instead of an @ address- and watch the conversation there. Guaranteed you’ll meet more people through twitter than by trying to make small talk at the breaks over soda.