Share fresh content with new Facebook feature
As social media sites Facebook, Google+ and Twitter compete for user attention, Facebook has further diversified its ability to share information by launching its own version of a public news feed.
For the first time, the site's users will be able to broadcast content updates beyond their friend list.
The Subscribe button – located on the top right-hand side of personal profiles – gives Facebook members the option of following friends, public figures or brands whose status updates are of interest to them. It also provides users with the option of publicly sharing status updates and extending their viewing audience to friends of friends.
While the new Subscribe feature may open the pathway to greater content sharing, there are also new controls in place to help users determine who they follow. Unlike similar services offered by competitors, the Facebook Subscribe application is granular and simultaneously allows users to limit and expand the number of people they share news content with, as well as the type of information.
This has positive implications for individuals who would like to extend their status updates to an increasing audience, as it means that account holders won’t be limited by the 5,000 person friend limit.
However, it also presents new barriers to content sharing, as stories that don't interest or offer any obvious value to members can be easily restricted or even blocked. This highlights the need for fresh content, which works to engage viewing audiences and keep them tuned in, rather than turned off.
At present, the Subscribe button does not allow users to share public posts with other forms of social media, however, the potential of this feature for syndicated RSS feeds is obvious.