Subscribe: Facebook's New Follow Feature

Screenshot of Facebook's subscription feature



Facebook fans see only 3% to 7.5% of a page’s posts.

THOUGHT: The internets are all abuzz with talk of Facebook’s new subscribe button.

Rolled out Wednesday, the Subscribe button lets anyone subscribe to anyone else’s updates in Facebook without any messy “friendship” issues complicating matters.  Now, when you visit someone’s profile on Facebook, if they’ve enabled the Subscribe button for their profile, you can follow their updates just as you would with anyone on Twitter.

There is no requirement that you be friends with the person you want to follow before you can subscribe.

The Subscribe button is a feature of personal profiles only, not Pages, so it will mostly affect individuals with a large number of Friends.

For both Subscribers and those being subscribed to, the new feature eliminates the awkward social calculation you need to perform over whether or not you want to be “Friends” with this person.

Subscribers have more control now because they can select what types of updates they want to subscribe to and choose the volume of content they want.

It is a mystery to me why it took Facebook so long to offer users such control. By doing so they are decreasing the noise in individuals’ newsfeeds. With the resulting content being more relevant to each user, one would presume they’d pay more attention to it, interact with it much more, thereby spending more time at Facebook, giving themselves many more opportunities to see and click on ads.

For people with large networks, especially personalities who will naturally attract a large audience such as actors, news personalities, or professional athletes, this allows them to have one presence rather than having to maintain both a personal profile as well as a fan Page.

Facebook will apparently offer a tool to convert your fans to subscribers but tread cautiously and think through the move before you merge. There are significant benefits to fan Pages that you do not get with personal profiles, not the least of which are the analytics Pages offer so you can understand how people interact with your content.

Ultimately, this is a reaction to both Twitter and Google+.

Facebook wants you to spend more time there and the more relevant public content there is to consume within Facebook, the more likely people will be to stay.


FOLLOW FRIDAY: Follow Mark Zuckerberg…on Google+…just because that’s funny.


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