Facebook gets Twitter-like as it allows users to follow people
Okay, Facebook isn’t calling it the “follow button”, it is calling it the “Subscribe Button”, but it allows users of Facebook to start doing what people already do on Twitter and follow those that that are not friends with.
It is a major change to the Facebook system as for the first time you can get updates in your news feeds from journalists, singers, politicians and others you are not friends with exactly as many already do on Twitter.
The move makes perfect sense on Facebook’s part and it puts more pressure on Twitter to continue to develop. The public and private option is a great way to balance your profile and it also helps solve the awkward professional and personal issue for public figures who can now publish “public” updates for all to see whether it is breaking news or some other update they want to share whilst keeping their main profile for their friends.
Twitter now faces threats from this Facebook development and from Google+. It really has to start to add new features, which until now it has been slow to do so.
Until now it has been difficult to control what you see in your Facebook News Feed, but with the launch of Facebook Friend Lists yesterday, and the Subscribe Button today that’s all changing.
Not only will you be able to add news feeds from journalists exactly as you would on Twitte (will people start choosing one over the other more?), but you will also have more control of how much you see of some of the more prolific posters you are friends with. Facebook is giving users a number of options and you will be able to use the Subscribe Button to do the following:
- Choose what you see from people in News Feed
- Hear from people, even if you’re not friends
- Let people hear from you, even if you’re not friends
Choose What You See in News Feed
You’re already getting your friends’ posts in News Feed. With the Subscribe button, you can choose how much you see from them:
- All updates: Everything your friend posts
- Most updates: The amount you’d normally see
- Important updates only: Just highlights, like a new job or move
You can also decide what types of updates you see. For example, you could see just photos from one friend, no stories about games from another, and nothing at all from someone else.
Facebook says choosing what you see is optional. If you don’t want to change what you see from someone, just ignore the button.
Subscribe to Interesting People
If you see a Subscribe button on your favourite blogger’s profile you’ll be able subscribe to their feed. Just click the button to get their public updates right in your News Feed.
Just like with friends, you can choose how many and what types of updates you see after you’ve subscribed.
Get Your Own Subscribers
It isn’t just for high profile or very public Facebook users. Everyone can make use of the subscribe button and publish public updates. People who subscribe to you will get posts you set as “Public” in their News Feeds. This is an entirely optional feature – you need to opt in.
To let people subscribe, you simply go to the Subscriptions Page and click Allow Subscribers.
Once you allow subscribers, you can decide who can comment and what notifications you get. You’ll also see a Subscribers tab on your profile, where you can see who subscribes to you.