First, I disliked the whole idea of "Friends". I find some peoples questions and/or opinions to be interesting and valuable. But I do not need to be "friends" who says interesting things. That sounded so social networking, which is what many on here use it for. The new system of "follows" make sense. You can follow a topic, follow a question, follow a person. I use it for all of these at times.
That said, a lot of things are still confusing or not settled. Like not being able to follow someone who is following you, but is private. How can one follow them, even if they want you to. For that matter, you cannot message a person to request to follow them if they have set their privacy to allow only messages from people they follow.
I have never set my settings to private. If things should not be available on here, I just do not put them in my profile. I also allow messages. I understand that some people have abused that with others and so many, especially girls, set more privacy. But I have an open policy of messaging. If someone wants to communicate with me, they can message me. I don't pass on anything that is in the messages to anyone else (including not on questions/opinions). And there are times I may wish to say something to someone without everyone seeing it, but if they have blocked messages I can not do it that way. (Some things a person says may be construed as offensive by some and I may wish to pass that back without sounding judgmental or inviting others to jump on it. And other things come up where it is best not to make things public.)
I have few followers, because I do not treat it as a social network. But I do not feel any need to "screen" followers. As long as no one is misusing that and being abusive, every thing is fine. Screw with it and I can block you. Works fine
So I actually like the new system, but see needs for tweaking.