Is Facebook’s Latest Update a Gamechanger?

Facebook makes changes to the way the network works on the daily. I do my best to stay up to speed, and I’m normally pretty polar in how I feel about an algorithm update here or an interface change there, but Facebook’s latest major announcement has me teetering.  Here’s what’s going on. . .

Facebook is introducing a “Subscribe” button. I think this is major. Here’s how it will work:

  1. You can subscribe to Public status updates from people you are not Facebook friends with.
  2. You can choose what kind of updates you see from your current Facebook friends. You can choose to subscribe to All Updates, Most Updates or Only Important Updates.
  3. You can allow people who aren’t your friends to subscribe to your Public Facebook status updates. Don’t worry, you have to opt in for this to be available to those who stumble across your Facebook profile.

Why this is great

Follow your Faves

You can subscribe to a celebrity or famous blogger’s Public status updates. They’ll likely never make Facebook friends with you, and now you don’t have to troll their profiles to see what they are publishing publicly.

Filtered Content

You can trim your newsfeed down to the status updates that really interest you. For example, if the girl who sat behind you in Sophomore Chemistry updates her Facebook every time her cat sneezes, you can choose to see “Only Important” updates from her without feeling badly about hiding or unfriending her (but if she really updates every time her cat sneezes, you really shouldn’t feel badly about unfriending her. Just sayin).  You can also subscribe to specific types of content your friends are posting. Choices are Life Events, Status Updates, Photos and Videos, and Games.

Market Yourself

For personal marketing purposes, you can extend the number of people who read your content by allowing non-friends to subscribe to your feeds. This way, if you would like anyone in the world to easily access to knowledge you share regarding specific topics, but don’t want to be friends with the whole world, you can allow other Facebook users to subscribe to your public content.

Why this really isn’t that great

Dilutes the Power of the Fan Page

I totally get that there is a difference between a celebrity’s personal profile page and their Facebook fan page, and that there will be different content, but:

  1. Being able to subscribe to their personal pages seems to dilute the purpose of the fan page.
  2. Seeing as most celebrities share what they want the world to know via their public fan pages, what new content would I really be subscribing to here?

I know that this feature doesn’t just apply to major celebrities, but you get the point.  Lines are getting greyer here. Could be a good thing, but my gut reaction is to feel a tad uneasy.

I’m Just Jaded

I really appreciate getting to trim down what I see from which friends. This is cool, and by far the best part of this new feature. But honestly, Facebook, I’m not inclined to use it, because you’re just going to change it up in two weeks anyway.

Hello, Twitter, is that you?

This whole subscribing-to-people-without-having-to-be-their-friend thing reeks of Twitter. I like using Twitter and the way it works. . .  when I’m on Twitter. Basically, I feel like this update begs the question: “ISN’T THAT WHAT TWITTER IS FOR?”

Let’s look at the numbers: Facebook has 750 million active users. Twitter just announced that it reached the 100 million active users milestone. If I were to make the assumption that everyone on Twitter is also on Facebook, I could reasonably assume that 650 million of the active users on Facebook are NOT interested in Twitter. So, why are we trying to make Facebook more like Twitter?!

This Automates Trolling

Well, that about sums up my point there.

Those are my two cents on this update. I’d love to hear yours. If you’re interested, you can follow my public content on Twitter, which is where I will continue to focus on posting it until I see Facebook embrace the subscription thing for personal marketing.

THE END