I admit I have no idea if Bill Gates plays Scrabble on Facebook; yet. But I just might soon enough.
Among the new features being rolled out this week from Facebook are the enhanced friends lists options which many feel was a response to Google Plus Circles, and the introduction of a Subscribe button with multiple implications and applications.
The subscribe button is, by far, the most radical of the changes and for the first time, allows people who are not your friends to see your personal profile updates if you enable the subscribe button. So, Guy Kawasaki or Pete Cashmore haven’t accepted your friend request. Bill Gates is ignoring your pokes and messages. You can now subscribe to their personal profile posts if they decide to enable Facebook’s new Subscribe button. Why should you or your brand care? You should care because Facebook has just opened up an interesting option for celebrities, authors, entrepreneurs, speakers and other high profile public figures to create great reach for their posts, beyond their friendship circle. However, this comes with some challenges, privacy concerns and the need for those users to understand exactly how this works and what they’ll be sharing.
What does this mean for brands, small businesses and entrepreneurs?
For business people who use their Facebook profile as yet another entry point to their brand, albeit a more casual one, you can now place a subscribe button on your profile. This allows people who aren’t your friends access to those posts you mark as public. This will be useful to celebrities, speakers, authors or other very public Facebook users who have reached their 5,000 friend cut-off, but still want to allow new friends to see their posts. If you use your profile strictly for personal communications with family and friends, you’ll want to skip implementing the subscribe button and continue to decline or ignore requests for friend connections with business contacts.
What does this mean for you, the user?
As a user, you can subscribe to the posts of industry leaders, celebrities or political figures who set their personal profiles to allow subscriptions and you can decide what types of posts you want to see. For example, you can hide all posts related to games so that you’ll never know when Lady Gaga hits a new high score on Bejeweled, but you’ll always be notified when she posts a new photo.
Facebook provides more details and the link to add the Subscribe button to your Facebook profile here. The profile owner can choose to be notified when someone subscribes, too. This is one to watch as it evolves in use.
Will you enable the Subscribe button? Why or why not?