Friday, September 16, 2011

How Do You Feel About Followers on Facebook?

Recently Facebook has made a lot of changes.  First, they made it easier to display posts to certain groups. They threw in a new option called "public" (foreshadowing things to come). In all honestly, with the exception of the public button, Facebook has had this functionality all along.  And they didn't really do anything to make it any easier to use.  It's now just displayed more prominently under the status updates box.  It's still not as easy to use as the drag and drop circle concept in Google+.

Yesterday I learned about another feature that Facebook is introducing.  It's called subscribing.  It's just like "following" on Twitter or Facebook.  By using the new subscribing feature you can follow the public posts of people on Facebook without actually "friending" them.

It was inevitable that this would arrive.  First, they added the public feature which is useless unless the public can see the posts. Second, they need to keep up with all the cool features over at Google+.  Google+ allows its users to follow people like Twitter and segment people better than Facebook which makes it the coolest social media outlet (though the most complex) right now.

How are Facebook fans going to react?

I am most curious to see how people are going to react to the new changes.  Facebook has been a closed society and many people like it that way.  Are people going to embrace subscribing or are they going to reject it outright and continue to post strictly among their own friends?

I can see bloggers using the public and subscribe feature for posting their blogs.  If your blog is posted publicly on the internet why not post it publicly on Facebook too, right?

The only flaw in this is the reaction of friends in closed communities.  There might be a backlash from them if they feel encroached upon by seeing public posts in their mix.  People will certainly need to be more careful about leaving comments if they are commenting on a public post.

The Shake Down

Anyone on Facebook who is also on Twitter or Google+ is not going to have any adjustment issues.  They are already used to a public environment or the subtle nuance of total control.  The big shake down is going to occur with people who have remained insulated on Facebook.  The new options are going to be a shock.  Some will embrace them and others will reject them.

Perhaps Facebook is getting it wrong.  Perhaps their strength lies in the fact that they are now the only large, closed  social media outlet.  Maybe they are missing the boat trying to be like everyone else.  At least they were smart enough to make the subscribe feature optional.  It does not go into effect unless you turn it on.

What are you going to  do?  Do you think the public feature and subscribing is a good thing for Facebook or not.


  1. Marian, I love it! Facebook did already have public posts, but it was called 'Everyone' instead of 'Public'.

    I think it will return Facebook to the way it was supposed to be. I have friends on FB that I have never met, and sometimes i don't even recognise their names when I see them. I accepted the friend requests because it was the only way to see what they had to say, but really, this is what subscribing is for. If you post a link to your blog on facebook it may as well be public, and if I subscribe I can see it.

  2. My blog already has a Facebook page, so people who want to subscribe to my blog via Facebook can do so by clicking "like." This isn't new for blogs.

    It's new for people though--this allows people to subscribe to me personally. My feeling is that if people want to follow me that closely but DON'T want to actually friend me, they're probably weirdos. I can live with weirdos, but I'd rather they stalk me via my blog rather than Facebook, so I can at least get the page views out of the deal. Having Facebook profit from weirdo stalkers seems dumb to me.

  3. I've used all those lists in Facebook for some time now. I have two blogs and Twitter and G+ accounts but don't post to the last two. Why? Because -- in contrast -- I like the control I have over who views my postings. I can control right down to the individuals who can or cannot see them. I like the closed social situation that I can use in Facebook; it's nice to have one available among the various social options. I see it as an advantage over the other milieus. Oh, no, does this make me a "social luddite"?

  4. Thanks for the thought provoking post. I posted my comments here: Follow me…. no don’t….. okay, follow me - wait, don't.

  5. Oops put the wrong link above - yikes! not so tech saavy, am I?

  6. Ironically, I've gone the opposite way since writing this post. Instead of encouraging folks to subscribe to me on Facebook, I set up a page for my Symbolic Past blog and will encourage people to go there if they want status updates in their NewsFeed. This is just an experiment and I wait and see how it goes. Anyone who wants to check it out can go to

  7. I have a facebook page Brandt, that the world can connect to. It's really for my blog and business. Google+ is used in the same manner, but with the restrictions of the Circles, Twitter is open and anyone can follow my blog. The last thing I want is to mix my personal life with business, so FB for me is limited to family and friends. It's my retreat away from colleagues, contemporaries and peers.