I noticed a very curious thing. Over the course of two or three weeks, I kept having people become my fans on Wizzley. I'd dutifully return the favor. They would then 'un-fan' me.
Until this moment, I became someone's fan primarily if I liked their work and wanted to keep reading it. Secondly, I'd befriend strangers out of politeness, if they had done the same to me.
The first few times that this fan/unfan thing happened, I dismissed it as my articles not being what they expected. But when it kept on happening, my instinct rang.
I approached the font of all knowledge and wisdom, also known as Sam. She informed me that there was a bizarre (and utterly false) belief amongst some writers, that such practice is good for Google SEO.
The idea is that you have more fans than you personally are following. The signal is supposed to be sent that you must therefore be a great writer.
However, she did underscore the fact that this is not only bad practice, but it doesn't work. I should imagine that it also ends up ostracizing you from your writing community.
This whole episode did result in me paying more attention to the followers section of Wizzley. I discovered that there are some friendly (or wise) souls, who become fans of newcomers as a matter of course.
It doesn't take a genius to work out why. Become someone's fan and they are very likely to click onto your profile, at least once.
They might follow back and then they will receive alerts to your articles. The more fans you have, the more inboxes your Wizzle links are flooding into every day.
Each fan is a potential reader. Each fan is someone who might forward links to your article to all of their friends and social networking sites. It's a great and subtle way to get noticed.
Personally though, I haven't changed a thing. I follow those who sound interesting, or whom I befriend; or I return a follow out of politeness.