The Subscribe Button from Facebook brings a new relationship category to the site, enabling individual Profiles to behave more like Facebook Fan Pages. Similar to an RSS Feed, the Subscribe Button allows a person to see public updates from those they subscribe to but are not friends with in their News Feeds, rather than going to a person’s Profile Page directly.
Intended for wide use by journalists, artists and political figures, the Subscribe Button allows these public figures to reach beyond their friends to engage with the general public, without having to create a Fan Page.
The Subscribe Button has the potential to shift how people interact on Facebook, since each person must now make the decision whether to friend or subscribe to individuals they know or want to know. The Huffington Post wrote how you might consider subscribing to your boss, even though you might not friend her, or how you may subscribe to musicians who would not accept your friend request.
If the Subscribe feature catches on, it will encourage users to post frequent, public status updates to their subscribers. Sound familiar? The Subscribe Button attempts to bring Twitter’s micro-blogging success to Facebook.
The Subscribe Button will be a game changer if users apply it to alter their News Feed. This option gives a person the ability to improve the relevance of his News Feed to only see items he is interested in viewing. After clicking the Subscribe Button on a Profile, you are able to choose from three options to bring content from that individual to your News Feed:
- “All Updates” – Use if you want to receive every update.
- “Most Updates” – Use if you want to continue to receive the same amount of updates.
- “Only Important” – Use to limit interruptions in the News Feed to only major events.
In addition, you can decide what kind of Updates you want to appear in your News Feed from different people. You control your News Feed to show only photos from your Aunt, stop showing updates about your brother’s Facebook games, or show nothing in your News Feed from your friends that post every excruciating detail of their lives.
What this Means for Personal Privacy
As always, personal privacy is a factor for every new Social Media feature, and the Subscribe Button is no exception. In order to enable the Subscribe Button on your Profile, you must post public Status Updates for others to subscribe to. Therefore, if all of your updates are posted to Friends, only your Friends can subscribe to your updates.
If you do post publicly, you may exhibit some control over your Subscribers. You will receive a notification for each person that subscribes to you, and will be able to control who may comment and like your Facebook posts.
Will you use the Subscribe Button?