Facebook just announced Subscriptions. Basically it brings the Twitter like follow to Facebook. You can now allow people to follow you without being a approved friend. Subscribers will see our Public posts. So if you have a post you don’t want subscribers to see you need to change the privacy settings of that post when posting. To allow subscriptions goto your profile page, just below your profile photo click the Subscriptions link and update the settings.
What does all this mean?
Well, if you have a profile that hit the 5000 friend limit you can turn on subscriptions and now have unlimited number of followers. Isn’t this just like a page? No, you still can’t add custom apps and tabs to a profile. You have much control of your brand in a page.
Techcrunch has a nice recap at http://techcrunch.com/2011/09/14/facebook-launches-twitter-like-subscriptions-lets-you-share-with-unlimited-users/
Here’s how it works. As you browse around the site, you’ll notice that some users have a button at the top of their profile that says ‘Subscribe’. Click it, and you’ll start seeing that user’s status updates in your News Feed, just as if you were their Facebook friend. But there’s a big difference: unlike normal Facebook friends, the people you subscribe to don’t have to approve your subscription request, and there’s no limit on how many people can subscribe to any given user.
Facebook says the feature will appeal to anyone looking to reach a broader audience, like journalists, artists, and political figures. To start sharing your own posts publicly, head to the new tab beneath your profile photo that says Subscriptions. Click it, and you’ll have the option to broadcast your public updates to anyone who has subscribed to you. Note that you’ll only syndicate updates that are marked Public; updates shared with Friend Lists won’t be seen by your subscribers.
Of course, Facebook has offered a similar feature called Pages for years now, which was meant for nearly the same thing (you’ll find that many journalists and politicians have already created Facebook Pages… because that’s what Facebook told them to do). The difference here, Facebook says, is that users no longer have to maintain two separate entities; they can just use the site’s sharing settings to decide which content they want to share very broadly, and what will only be shared with friends.
Facebook adds that this isn’t the end of Pages by any means — they say that feature will still appeal to brands and major celebrities, because Pages can be managed by multiple admins and can be customized with applications. Pages also offer Insights (Facebook’s analytics tool), whereas Subscriptions don’t.
Fortunately, Facebook is allowing users to merge their Pages with their profiles, so you don’t have to rebuild your audience if you want to use the Subscription feature.