I suppose I wasn’ t the only one confused with the new Facebook changes. I could no longer find recent and top stories, the privacy settings changed, pictures got bigger. Facebook developers are altering the site constantly to keep up with trends, and we can’t blame them. Eventually, we’ll get used to every change (although the confession of Mark Zuckenberg that they are monitoring your Internet activity even after you logged out is quite disturbing).
One of the new features that Facebook introduced in September is a “subscribe” option. The feature is, in my opinion, similar to “following” somebody on Twitter. Its great advantage is that people can “subscribe” and see your professional/public activity, but you don’ t have to accept them as a friend. This is part of Facebook’s effort to give users more control over their accounts and their News Feeds. But I think that it is also a great tool for PR practitioners and journalists who want the general public to know about their work, articles or campaigns but don’ t want them to to see your pictures and personal updates.
If you would like to promote your work this way, the only thing you have to do is to enable the “subscribe” option on your profile. Once you enable it, it will appear on your personal profile. You can subscribe to other people’s profiles in the area of your interest as well. You can choose how many and what kind of public updates you will receive from them.
Now you might ask, what is the difference between the fan pages and the “subscribe” option? Fan pages are not that flexible — for example, even after one hundred “likes” you still can’ t change the name of the fan page. You can’t monitor other people’s activities or enjoy a two-way dialogue with them. The “subscribe” option enables you direct distribution into the News Feeds of your readers and two-way dialogue.
Do you think Facebook will be successful with new its new “subscribe” feature? Do you think it can compete with Twitter and its “follow” option? And finally, do you think it might help PR professionals to communicate better with their audiences?