Suddenly, being a Public Figure
Just Got More Interesting
(and confusing too!)
Facebook now, after many months of moving that direction, allows you to “subscribe” to the publicly shared content of any profile that has chosen to enable the feature at the new subscription page.
Profiles remain off-limits for use for marketing or posting things for sale (which is a violation of the terms of service) and anyone using Facebook for marketing or in a business name must continue to utilize pages.
This new subscription feature brings some page-like features to your profile but is not available for pages because “like” is the same thing already for your page.
Facebook Subscriptions – The Definitive Guide!
To Page Or Not To Page… That Is The Question
Facebook reminds us that profiles are not for marketing activities or businesses even with these new changes.
Profile subscriptions are ideal for super-users, celebrities, journalists (who may not be well known enough for a page), and potentially even ideal for individuals such as teachers who play a public role in the lives of others.
They also can allow even an “average” individual to let extended family connect but not overly closely and not have to see all of that barely-known-persons’ info in their news feed.
Getting Started With Facebook Subscriptions
To get started, go to the new Subscriptions page and click “Allow Subscribers”.
Two Simple Decisions
Once you click allow, you’ll be greeted by 2 simple choices: Do you want notified of subscribers (All/Friends of Friends/No One) and would you like public subscribers that are not friends to be able to comment on public posts (on/off).
What’s It Look Like?
Once a profile has enabled subscriptions, when you visit it, you’ll be prompted to subscribe (if you are not already a friend). Upon clicking subscribe you’ll be able to subscribe to ONLY the content you want to see!
Word of Warning: By default, anyone that is signed into FB can view who has subscribed to you and who your subscribers are.
Changing Those Default Subscription Visibility Permissions
From your “Info” tab, click on the “Edit Profile link” and you will be able to edit a number of profile permissions including, under “Friends and Family”, the visibility of your subscribers and your subscriptions.
Keep in mind when you subscribe to someone that they may not hide your identity and if this develops a bug (or intentionally) you may be displayed on their subscribers tab for the world to see.
How To Opt-Out of Facebook Subscriptions
It is possible to rather easily opt out of allowing people to subscribe to your profile. It is however, still unclear whether this also prevents potential friends from being auto subscribed to public while you let their friend request go unanswered (which has been a feature for many months now.)
What Just Became of the 5,000 rule on Facebook?
If I’m reading it all correctly… it works like this…. For me as a person, I can have 5,000 (Friends + Pages Liked + People Subscribed To) total. That part did not change.
However, just because I have my personal 5,000 does not mean there can not be an extra 2,000 that are subscribed TO ME. There is no cap on the number of people that can be subscribed to me, just as there is no cap on the number of fans my page may have.
(Take this bit with a grain of salt, we’re getting mixed answers on this. The other possibility is that you can have 5,000 Friends + Pages Liked… and another 5,000 people subscribed to.)
I am A Public Figure With A Profile and Have a Business Page Now What?
For now, your first decision is whether the content on your page CAN be posted on your profile. If you post anything for sale or do any marketing from your business page, that content could get you banned from Facebook if you post it on your profile (even to your subscribers).
Because a merge tool is not yet available for you, you also must consider if your business page is active whether you will let it die a slow death (or be seen by anyone that stumbles upon it as inactive) while you try to convince fans to subscribe. For an active page this could be a very bad idea at this time.
I’m Sorta A Hot-Shot Should I Enable Subscriptions?
This feature is really geared at the public figure that is so popular they are struggling with the 5,000 friend cap – or that needs to be able to speak “to the public at large” while keeping them solidly away from their personal lives. While there are some uses for others many will find it does not serve them as well as letting that person friend them when they can.
If you’re using Facebook for non-business/marketing/sales you simply need to decide if you would prefer most of these people become your friend (if they can) or if you’d rather not give up the friends you have to add more just so these new folks can see something.
The flip side however is that there are people I do not mind “following” (since this feature was swiped from twitter) that I’d rather not connect with as a friend.
If you’re never willing to post publicly, this feature is not for you.
How To Convert My Facebook Page Fans Into Facebook Profile Subscribers?
Facebook indicates that in the future they may allow Public Figures to merge their existing PAGE into their Profile, converting “Fans” to “Subscribers” (not friends)
If I’m A Public Figure & Give Up Using My Page, How Can I Auto-Share To Twitter?
Facebook has “promised” that in the very near future you will be able to use their integrated twitter application http://facebook.com/twitter to auto share public posts from Facebook to Twitter. (This is not ready yet.) Please remember, as with using pages, not to abuse your twitter following with too much of this.
How Do I Post To My Facebook Subscribers?
Anything that you post with a permission of “Public” (previously labeled as “Everyone”) can potentially end up in the news feed of your Subscriber. Whether it will or won’t depends on whether they have subscribed to that particular media/content type from you. EdgeRank will also impact if it makes it into their Top News Filter. And your settings will determine if they may comment on it.
Why Does Facebook Show Me As Subscribed To My Friends?
Facebook automatically subscribes you to a person when you become their friend. Thus anyone you were already a friend of you are auto subscribed to (at least as soon as they enable subscriptions). By default this does not change what you receive from them but does let you selectively control some of it now.
Note: The friend-to-friend auto-subscription defaults to “most updates” not all updates. You may wish to change this for some of your friends!
You Told My Friends I Subscribed To Who?
Similar to adding a friend, Facebook shares with your friends who you subscribe to. It’s unclear if setting the permission on “Subscribers” to “only me” blocks this but my suspicion is that it does not since that is how it functions for friends.
What Was That About Auto-Subscribed Friend Requests?
For several months now anyone that requested to be your friend was ALREADY being auto-subscribed to your PUBLIC content (which then showed in their news feed) as soon as they requested a Facebook friendship. They would remain auto subscribed until you either approved them or marked that you did not know them .
So what Happens When I Unfriend Someone?
When you befriended a person, they became auto-subscribed to you (and you to them). When you unfriend them, they REMAIN subscribed to you unless you block them. Their ability to comment on those public posts is then determined by your subscription permission setting. This is something important to keep in mind.
So How Do I Keep Creepy-Stalker-Person From Subscribing?
Anyone that you have blocked from your profile is unable to subscribe to your profile with these new tools.
You can always see who is subscribed by clicking on the “Subscribers” link, in the left side navigation under your profile picture.
What Can This NOT Do?
This can keep non-friends from seeing things you share to friends or even people on specific lists.
However, unlike when everyone is a friend, anything you share to subscribers (public) must also be seen by all your friends.
So if you are a chatty local politician (public figure) and wanting to utilize this, while you can share private stuff to only your family, you can not filter your output in such a way that your old college buddies across the country can spared listening to the local political dramas that you are sharing to your Subscribers.
This is very different than the way you can carefully control which of your friends see a particular update using the post privacy feature.
Where Can I Learn More About Facebook’s Profile Subscription Options?
Love it? Hate It? Tell Facebook!
Facebook offers a feedback and bug-report form for Subscriptions here. Don’t expect to hear from them though.
Whew! Did I Miss anything?
I’d love if you’d share your thoughts, comments, concerns and questions in the comments box below! I look forward to comparing notes!
Taking the Headaches Out of Internet Marketing
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