Two weeks after Google made a big splash with the unveiling of its social network, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg scrambled a press conference
to say, “Look! Over here! Look at us!”
Actually, Zuckerberg announced Facebook’s Skype-powered video chat, and people mostly shrugged and went on with their lives. In terms of sheer buzz, Google had trumped Facebook—that time.
On Wednesday, Facebook rolled out a feature that is grabbing headlines and challenging its rivals.
Facebook introduced the “subscribe” button, which means you can receive (and send updates to) users who aren’t your “friends,” in a similar manner as Twitter and Google+. Here’s what the new feature enables users to do, according to Facebook:
1. Choose what you see from people in News Feed
2. Hear from people, even if you're not “friends”
3. Let people hear from you, even if you're not “friends”
If you do subscribe to someone’s profile, you don’t have to receive every update. You have choices. You can get all updates, most updates, or just the important ones (like an engagement or new job).
Here’s the page
for enabling the “subscribe” button on your profile, although Facebook users don’t have to enable it.
Learn more on the Facebook blog
also has a nice explanation
In case one of your co-workers or executive asks, “What does this new-fangled thing mean for the company’s Facebook page?” Here’s what can tell you them: Not much—for the moment, at least. It will, of course, take time to see how it will shake out. But here's what we do know: The “subscribe” button is for profiles, not brand pages. Facebook says
companies and brands should continue to use pages.
The bottom line, according to Facebook, is that public figures—like one of your high-profile clients or executives—now have two options. “They can use whatever works better for their needs,” Naomi Gleit, Facebook’s director of product, told Search Engine Land
Pamela Parker, a contributing editor to Search Engine Land
, provided further explanation: “Folks that have multiple people posting to their pages, or benefit from the analytics associated with pages, can continue to use pages. Others can make public updates to subscribers via their personal profiles.”
This chart from Facebook itemizes the differences between profiles with the “subscribe” button and pages:
In related news from Facebook, the social network also made it easier to create lists of friends, something that users have said was time-consuming in the past and that Google+ makes far easier with its Circles feature. Read more about the new Facebook lists here