Facebook has added two new features, part of a slew of recent updates as they battle it out to remain the top dog in social media. Users can now Subscribe to friends’ or other users’ updates, much in the way we follow people on Twitter. A new View Shares option on posts also allows users and pages to see post shares in a popup window.
The Subscribe option is a logical extension of inline profile controls (added late in August) that allow users to specify which groups of users can see specific posts. That feature brought Facebook closer to competing with the flexibility of the Circles feature on Google+.
Now, users can subscribe to the updates tagged as Public of those outside of their circle of mutually accepted friends. This is a positive development for celebrities and other popular users who may bump up against the 5,000 friends limit.
We already know users spend much more time on Facebook than Google, so the Subscribe button adds even greater value for Facebook keeping users on site. Additionally, Facebook will gain insights about popularity and could act as another signal for how Facebook ranks news feed items.
Facebook’s Subscribe Button Increases User Control
Subscribe offers extra control for subscribers, as well, who can choose which types of updates they’d like to see in their newsfeed from users they subscribe to. In a September 14 blog post, Facebook lists the three ways to use Subscribe:
- Choose what you see from people in News Feed.
- Hear from people, even if you’re not friends.
- Let people hear from you, even if you’re not friends.
This feature also allows users to decide which types of posts they’d like to see from those they are already friends with: all updates, most updates, or important updates only.
View Shares Available to User and Page Accounts; Missing From Insights
The ability to see just how many times a post was shared and by whom is a welcome addition to marketers and others tracking their social activity. The “View all Shares” option appears beside “View all comments” on posts. User privacy is protected, as only those who could already see the Share can see who reposted it.
Page admins may not be as thrilled that the “via such-and-such Page” link back to the source of the post has been removed. Additionally, the Shares metric does not yet appear in Page Insights, though this could be in the works.
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