Do you remember your first subscription? I’m pretty sure mine was either Highlights or National Geographic Magazines. Fast forward about twenty years. Now I’ve got subscriptions to my google reader and to the digital versions of Food + Wine Magazine. As of last week, we no longer just have the ability to subscribe to published works. Now we can subscribe to people’s status updates too.
Facebook is responding to the praised privacy controls that Google+ has employed by allowing you to have greater control over who gets access to your updates as well as more control over what updates make it to your feed.
With the new subscribe button you have the ability to curate what types of updates you see from each of your friends and how often you see them. According to Facebook’s blog you can chose: All updates (everything your friend posts), Most updates (the amount you’d normally see), or Important updates only (just highlights like a new job or move).
Not only can you chose how often their updates make it to your feed, but you can chose which of their updates you see. Maybe you really don’t want to know that one of your friends just played Farmville and you only want to know when they post pictures. You have the control. These settings are going to be even more important as more “open graph” apps are available and you’ll be updated on what music or movies your friends are listening to or watching.
You also have the ability to subscribe to people who you’re not necessarily friends with so that their updates show up in your feed. This means you could subscribe to celebrities, journalists, political figures or “interesting people” as Facebook calls them. Do remember, though, that everyone has control over which updates are shared to the public, to their friends etc. If your status update is public, your friends and your subscribers will have access to it. Conversely, you might have friends who you don’t subscribe to so that you don’t see any of their updates.
Now that the subscribe button has been out for a little while, how do you think it will change your interactions on Facebook?