Facebook is suggesting that you subscribe to people’s public status updates and customize how much of their feeds you receive.
The site is rolling out a new subscribe button that will enable you to receive in your news feed publicly visible status updates from people who aren’t yet on your friend list.
This same feature will also let you customize what you see from people who are on your friend list.
The social network posted an announcement about the feature, explaining that it will allow you to:
- 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.
A subscribed button will show up on the pages of your friends — along with those of nonfriends you subscribe to — and clicking on the icon will pull down a menu of three options you can select.
- All updates: Everything your friend posts.
- Most updates: The amount you’d normally see.
- Important updates only: Just highlights, like a new job or move.
This option seems geared toward making sure there are still public status updates going up — now that the Facebook has made the privacy controls more visible to the average user, these settings ought to increase in usage.
The founders of the site have historically expressed a preference for encouraging people to be more open in their sharing, and keeping public status updates from becoming extinct is consistent with that original objective.
To encourage the use of the new feature, Facebook suggesting people for you to subscribe to, based on your friends’ activity. These prompts show up in the right-hand column of the homepage. You can click on the upper right-hand corner of these suggestions and they will disappear, plus subsequent prompts will take a different direction.
For instance, I’d clicked the the “x” on suggestions that I subscribe to journalists who aren’t on my friend list, and then the site suggested I subscribe to the public statuses of top Facebook executives.
A Related Development
Buried at the bottom of Facebook’s guide for developers on the new subscribe button is the revelation that you can update a Twitter account directly from Facebook — only this is available now, not forthcoming like the promotional material suggests.
While Facebook describes how to do this very simply — go to Facebook.com/Twitter and follow the prompts on the screen — we don’t recommend this. Aside from the fact this only pushes public wall posts to Twitter, content that looks best on one social network doesn’t necessarily fit the other.
Readers, what do you make of Facebook’s latest feature enhancements?