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Facebook's 'Subscribe' Feature: What to Know Before Signing On
By: Christine Geraci
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There she is again: That girl you vaguely remember from high school. Maybe she was on the debate team with you. Or was it the tennis team? Eh, you don’t remember. But apparently she does, because she won’t stop trying to friend you on Facebook. Will you friend her because you feel bad, or just ignore her? Sounds like a job for the Subscribe button.
Facebook’s “Subscribe” feature is supposed to get rid of the occasional awkwardness that comes with the friending process by making it completely unnecessary. It was designed with key groups in mind, particularly public figures and popular artists and personalities who don’t always have the time or patience to sift through friend requests.
But Facebook’s Subscribe feature has a few, shall we say, nuances. Whether this feature will thrive in spite of them remains to be seen.
First off, you must be 18 or older to allow subscribers (almost there, Justin Bieber). However, minors under the age of 18 can still subscribe to adults who allow subscribers. And since we all know most kids lie about their ages to get Facebook profiles, this could be a little concerning for parents.
Funny enough, Facebook has billed the Subscribe button as a way to keep tabs on your children without having to friend them (and thus, embarrass them). Really? Does Facebook think people are that dumb? If you allow subscribers, you control what you share with them. Subscribers aren’t privy to any other information, such as who you’re friends with, your photos and videos, the pages you like, or the notes you share. True, most young adults don’t want their parents to know about every last frat party they attended. But they could — and likely do — use the Subscribe feature to keep up appearances for their folks.
One cool aspect of the Subscribe feature is that you can elect to disallow comments on your public posts. This is quite the privacy control, especially for Facebook. Excited? Here’s the letdown: Your friends will ALWAYS be able to comment on your public posts. Maybe you don’t want certain friends to comment on your public posts because they represent you professionally. Then you have a decision to make: Do you keep using the Subscribe feature, or do you unfriend that person? Awkward.
If you’re maintaining a personal profile as well as a public personal through the Subscribe feature, you should be aware of this little annoyance: Every time you post a public update, any custom posting settings you’ve created are wiped. That means any time you want to share with just your friends, you have to manually re-set. Make this a little easier to deal with by creating lists.
What do you think of the Subscribe feature?

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About the Author
Christine Geraci is the Social Media/Promotions Specialist at MVP Health Care in Schenectady, NY. Connect with her on Twitter @christinegeraci.
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