Facebook's new subscribe button: An interesting experiment on importance

Facebook's new subscribe button: An interesting experiment on importance

Summary: Google+ has nice features, but Facebook will use its scale to popularize them. The subscribe button should be one interesting experiment to watch.

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Facebook is rolling out a subscribe button so you can figure out exactly what you want to see on your news feed. Welcome to one interesting experiment in social circles.

The social networking giant introduced the subscribe button in a blog post. Facebook is adopting many of the features that Google+ has, but using its scale to get more of a reaction. Even Robert Scoble---a Google+ evangelist so to speak---was juiced about Facebook's move.

In a nutshell, this subscribe button allows you to decide what you see from friends' profiles. You can get all updates, only important updates or most updates. You can also decide whether you only want life events, photos or game notifications from people you know.

Big deal you say? Wait until the experimentation gets underway. For my purposes, I'm reducing the noise on my Facebook account big time. I'll probably only go with life events for most people. I care if you get divorced or have some big life change. You can spare me the details of your dinner and fun time in Jamaica. It'll also be interesting to see what Facebook's system deems important to you.

Granted, I'm becoming a more anti-social social networking guy since I've been systematically shooting things that take up too much time, but you can see where I'm heading here. Hmm to go unsubscribe or only the important stuff?

The other item of note from Facebook is it's allowing more folks to subscribe to you. If this sounds familiar, that's because the feature is out of the Google+ playbook. Again, Google+ has nice features, but Facebook will use its scale to popularize them.

Topics: Apps, Google, Social Enterprise

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10 comments
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  • RE: Facebook's new subscribe button: An interesting experiment on importance

    Not really having used Facebook as it doesn't interest me interacting with friends past and present online, but it does surprise me that people really want to be able to choose what information they receive from people they have liked or whatever the phrase is. Why are people so interested in other peoples lives, or am I missing something?
    toby juggles
  • RE: Facebook's new subscribe button: An interesting experiment on importance

    Despite being of an age where I really should have known better I got totally sucked into Facebook games and accumulated 2,500 'friends' in the process to ensure I always had an overwhelming supply of 'gifts'.

    When it eventually dawned on me how much time was being wasted I weaned myself off the games and reduced my 'friends' list to people I actually *know*. :)
    welshdog
  • well

    Google+ is actually improving Facebook, that's undeniable.
    cameigons
    • RE: Facebook's new subscribe button: An interesting experiment on importance

      @cameigons
      Same thing happened years ago with TV Guide magazine. Rupert M (or someone) decided to create a competing magazine. TV Guide basically doubled their content and the upstart was gone in mere months.
      Bowler_z
  • RE: Facebook's new subscribe button: An interesting experiment on importance

    ahh, Google+, that's my favorite fictional character.
    TheFilipinoFlash
    • RE: Facebook's new subscribe button: An interesting experiment on importance

      @TheFilipinoFlash Agree totally, how many months have we heard about this fictional Google+
      skudera@...
  • RE: Facebook's new subscribe button: An interesting experiment on importance

    This is great, I don't have many friends at Facebook but would like to follow very important bloggers, technical writters or journalists which can be very important people and I would like to see their posts on technology topics, this might look like a copy of Twitter, but it's different since you don't have the people that follow you as friends, so they won't be able to write directly at your wall.
    Gabriel Hernandez
  • RE: Facebook's new subscribe button: An interesting experiment on importance

    I am a <a href="http://www.elmotaheda-web.com/" title="web designer in Egypt">web designer in Egypt</a>, and recently many clients are ditching the traditional web site and requesting only facebook fan pages. This a a deep change in business. The new changes do not affect such work, but facebook trying to emulate the nice points about google+ will only solidify its position. This in the long run is having a negative impact sales wise on the web design and development sector, since until now client jobs on facebook usually carry less value than traditional web sites due the the limited design ability in <a href="http://elmotaheda-web.com/services/social-media-marketing-and-optimization" title="facebook fan pages.">facebook fan pages.</a>
    ehabh
  • RE: Facebook's new subscribe button: An interesting experiment on importance

    Facebook as always been a mess when it came to privacy and now even more than ever! Few will understand that they can change their posts from public mode so the unwanted eyes might not look!

    With this new feature it's not called stalking anymore it's called.. subscribing: http://www.vectorash.ro/facebook-new-crap-profile-reloaded/
    Victor Stanescu
  • There's no definition of the categories, e.g. "Only Important"

    I've been trying to find out for weeks EXACTLY what "Only Important" updates (and the other categories) mean.

    Without definitions, these categories are near useless. What a sloppy roll-out of a new feature.

    I can choose to get too many updates, or to potentially cut off updates that may be important to me (but not in some mysterious way, to Facebook).

    This, along with apps that don't appear in the "block" section of settings, are a real annoyance right now for me in Facebook.
    Cornan The Iowan