I've spent plenty of time ragging on people who go follower crazy on Twitter, trying all sorts of tricks to amass as many "fauxlowers" as possible, not realizing that none of them are actually listening.

Maybe I was wrong.

A few days ago, Jerry West wrote:

Previously, if Google's algorithm deemed information from friends/family useful for your search, it would appear near the bottom of results. Now that information will be mixed into search results, with annotations and notes from the original poster.

I tried a search, and sure enough, a site that someone I follow on Twitter had "shared" (I don't know whether that meant a Tweet or something else) was there in the #5 spot. I logged out of my Google Account, ran the search again, and that item was nowhere to be found.

It seems amassing followers is now a viable SEO practice.

To make this practice useful, you'd want to keep your efforts targeted as much as possible -- there's no point getting followed by someone who's never going to search for anything you share. And don't forget to share links to your own sites sometimes so that your links get their turn being bumped up to page 1.

So, am I going to go fauxlower crazy now? Not likely. I'm still opposed to anything that sucks up others' resources for no reason other than personal gain. But I'll have to consider adjusting my social strategy a little.