The Facebook Subscribe Button Launches

UPDATE: As of Thursday afternoon, the button has launched.

You can subscribe to my updates by clicking this button:

Regular readers of this blog know that I’m a fan of Facebook’s relatively new subscribe feature — which allows non-friends to follow your public Facebook updates — but with a caveat.

Unless you’re world famous or algorithmically make it onto Facebook’s suggested users list, it’s near impossible to grow your Facebook following. While one’s Twitter following can be grown by the help of the community around you — by mentions, follow Fridays and the like — that kind of behavior, while possible on Facebook, is not particularly prevalent there.

So in an effort to change that, a Facebook executive on Wednesday announced that the company will be launching a subscribe button that will be embeddable on websites, similar to  Twitter’s follow buttons. It’s long overdue, since Facebook fan pages have had embeddable “like” button functionality for some time.

The executive, Joanna Shields, VP and Managing Director for Facebook Europe, made the announcement at the Le Web conference in Paris, and gave no time frame other than “soon,” according to TechCrunch.

When the new subscribe button goes live, publishers should take steps to implement it (and encourage individual journalists to enable it). Users who have large subscriber bases on Facebook have been noting how different (and often better) the Facebook audience is.

For instance, when Craig Kanalley, the social media editor at NBC News, did a bit of a crowdsourcing exercise on Monday night tied to an episode of Rock Center, he noted that he got a much better response on Facebook:

Interesting how posting that same update on @facebook got so many more responses
Dec 06 via TweetDeckFavoriteRetweetReply

Have fun with the subscribe button when it comes out. Just remember to adjust your privacy settings accordingly!