I think it is sort of like on social media. Only you don't see their posts. I just checked my profile page and it says I am following 20 people but I can't just sort my screen to show their posts only. So I guess it is just a way to know who might be a fan of your posts. I think anyway.
It just tells them you are online and posting. You can do the same things by looking at a persons profile but this just kinda streamlines the process. Given the amount of articles you post I'm certain you have a lot of followers.