Monday, September 19, 2011

On using the subscribe button in Facebook

Facebook has finally introduced the subscribe button. For me, it is a copy of G+ circles. The theory of the G+ circles is that anyone one could add you to their circles but you do not have to add them back. Until you add a person to your circle, they will only see your public updates in their newsfeed. Facebook subscribe button works on the same principle.

What is the good side?
  • You can give your fans a chance to engage with your personal Facebook profile.
  • Prevents you from going through the hassle of maintaining a page for your fans. 
  • You can have the people you trust in the friend list and let all those friends who can only see a limited version of your profile be your subscribes.
  • Would be a great tool to remove the clutter in your friend list. (no need to add all these people you meet at the hospital queue as friends)
  • If used correctly, it can be used as a tool to market yourself. 

What is the bad side?
  • The status that we share can be totally harmless. But sometimes, crazy friends make the post go wild with crazy comments and you no longer can keep your mouth shut. So you also join the fun.This sometimes ends up with personal jokes, and might go to the extent of using bad language. All these personal jokes and your language will be tolerated by your friends and there will be no misunderstandings. But for an outsider, the comments may look obscene. In another words, comments can create a black mark on your personality.
  • This makes us share more information to the public. We should be careful not to breech the privacy of ourselves and of our friends.
  • One thing is obvious: people make their status public because they want engagement from the public. But it does not mean that people want to add all their subscribers as friends. (Well, there can be people who "want" to do so too) If they wanted to do so, people will make their whole profile public. Unless the person you subscribe has a full public profile, please do not add them as friends.
  • Some might use this feature to advertise their blogs/forums etc as the subscribers can comment on the posts that are made public.

Why I'm happy?
  • I no longer have to add all the unknown people to one friend list and restrict that particular friend list from seeing my very personal stuff on Facebook.

I do not add people that I do not know to Facebook. However, I get many friend requests each day. One day, I messaged few of these unknown people who have added me as a friend. These are some of their answers. 

My question was:

Just noticed that you have sent me a friend request. Do I know you?

Some said : 

sorry...i don't want to be friend with you...
Neva! Jst wanna be ya frend. No worries if u ignor. Bye. 
If u don't know you just have to ignore. it's nothing. just do it

and others had resons like:

ah I dont tink so  , I'm a friend of ***** bro..and I'm fan of all your photography society  .also u put a 'like' on my comment once  & we have several mutual friends I send a request..just wanted to friend with u all :))
not really bt i like 2 know u

Well now, all of them have a solution and I'm really glad Facebook introduced the subscribe button.

Further reading :

Facebook Blog Post on subscribe button
Optimizing your profile to get more subscribers

PS: This is a test post published via email. Sorry for any formatting issues that might occur in the post.


  1. Oh, I decided not to use the G+ for the same reason; now I will have to stop using the Facebook as well.
    Thanks for the information.

  2. Even though my first impression was positive, I later found this a bit disturbing. I mean, once I subscribe to couple of popular people (Pete Cashmore etc), my newsfeed gets flooded with updates from them!

    I'd rather prefer to keep Facebook for my real life friends, and follow Pete Cashmore etc etc on Twitter!

  3. Still my newsfeed is free from such clutter. May be I subscribed to not so popular people ;) and on the other hand, you can select what updates you get and what number of updates you want from the particular person. 

    I really like the last part. That is my theory too. In fact, my Facebook bio says : 

    "Do I know you?""No""Then Twitter is the place"

  4. well, other people can subscribe to you "only if you allow". If you do not want others to subscribe to you, simply turn it off :)

  5. Thanks for sharing this DeepS. But do you know I use the facebook with a lot of caution. We have a branch for facebook related crime also, don't we?