The Wall Street Journal has an article "Report: 44% of Twitter Accounts Have Never Sent a Tweet" whose comment stream is particularly vile, though some of the remarks are valid.
Without solid statistics, articles like that can only speculate about the story behind the story. Are people "quietly reading" other people's tweets or are they simply not spending time there? Does an absence of tweets indicate a lack of engagement?
I'm not one of the 44%, having sent thousands of tweets, while every so often wiping the slate clean to start afresh. I actively read Twitter: it's an excellent source of news and views, and more effective than other news feeds as a discovery engine, for personalities and stories.
Though my tweet stream has a "high signal to noise" ratio, with many interesting links and retweets, its number of followers remains consistently low. I mainly follow people with high authority in a given subject and if they, like me, want to keep their tweet stream fairly manageable, it's better for them to stick to primary, high value sources. It's true that they could keep Twitter manageable by assigning followers to lists, for selective reading, but in that case I could imagine being shoved on to a list named "Fans" or "Uncategorized". That's the kind of dishonest behavior that caused me to abandon FriendFeed, once I cottoned on to it.
Unlike the 44%, I re-tweet constantly. I like to keep a record of what I've been reading and want to draw further attention to some of these tweets and links. Favoriting tweets would work too, but would be less effective in spreading the word.
Just as there is no reason for celebrities and top influencers to follow my tweet stream, ordinary folks too would be better advised to stay with primary sources in a given field.
Twitter therefore allows the celebs to flourish, and lets everyone else feel resentful if they choose to be. In which case they can head over to the Wall Street Journal to leave their peeved comments.