September 19, 2011, 4:57 PM — Are you confused by the mass of new features Facebook has rolled out lately? You’re not alone.
Even I, a virtual social networking ninja, find myself flummoxed trying to keep it all straight. For example: Facebook’s new subscriptions feature, which makes it much more like Twitter, but not quite.
Now you can “subscribe” to someone’s Facebook updates without being their friend, and even comment on their posts. That makes it more or less analogous to following someone on Twitter and retweeting them. But not quite.
Confused? Let this unofficial FAQ be your guide.
Hey, I haven’t even used Facebook subscriptions, yet I am already subscribed to a bunch of feeds. What gives?
By default, you’re automatically subscribed to anyone on your friends list – which is no different than it was before. What is different is you can choose which kinds of posts you want to see from each person – all updates, most, or only the important ones – as well as whether you want to see all of their photos and videos, status updates, life events, or game activity. Neat, eh?
I find myself utterly fascinating, and I believe complete strangers will as well. How do I allow them to subscribe to my Facebook posts without friending them?
First, you have to get to your Facebook profile page – not the News Feed that loads when you log on to Facebook. Click on your name in the upper left corner to get to your profile. You should see a “Subscriptions” icon above your spouse (if you have one) or Friends list. Click the Allow Subscribers button, and then decide if you want to be notified if anyone subscribes to you, and if you want them to be able to leave comments on your posts.
FYI, the default is to have comments turned off and only be notified if a friend of a friend subscribes.
Great. So now a bunch of strangers can see everything I say or do?
Not exactly. Subscribers will only see posts you’ve marked as Public, and they may choose to see only certain kinds of posts – like only videos or only status updates.
If you don’t want your subs to know about it, you can choose to share only with Friends, or a list you’ve created, or customize the sharing to include some folks while excluding others.
Oops, I just marked something Public by mistake. Now a bunch of strangers are all up in my personal business. What do I do?