I'm interested in building a following app for a specific vertical market. The api docs and tos seem to conflict with reality. These documents imply that all apps that automate following are forbidden, but there are many apps that do this listed in the Twitter app directories. I only want to build apps that meet with Twitter's approval, and I want to be a good citizen of the Twitter ecosystem, so I'd like some clarification on the current thinking about this subject.
My goal is NOT to build a bulk follower that blindly follows and unfollows thousand of users each day. I understand the negative aspects of these. But I also realize that building a following is an essential part of being a productive Twitter user. Is there a middle ground that is allowed? My idea is to build an well behaved app that uses a procedure like this to build a following for a Twitter account: Select the most active Twitter users in a specific market. Follow a small number, perhaps 50, per day. If these follows are not followed back in a week, unfollow them. Log this attempt, and repeat it again after an interval of perhaps 30 days. If 2 or 3 follow attempts for an account fail to gain a follow back, then stop trying permanently for that account. So is this type of gradual following allowed, or is ANY type of automated following forbidden?