Facebook “Lists” And The New “Subscribe” Button Explained

The new Facebook Lists and the Subscribe button Lots of stuff happening on the Facebook sphere this week. And as usual a lot is said, rumors come and go… so I though it would be cool to take it down a notch for the reader at SocialMouths and get right to the point explaining the new updates.

The new features are 2, so far (hey, the week is not over), “Lists” and the “Subscribe” button. We’ll discuss both of them and I’ll tell you exactly what they do.

Let’s first say that these new updates are really something that a lot of people expected from Facebook a long time ago. Not only that but they are pretty much just adding some of the functionalities from both biggest competitors Twitter and Google+, we’ll see why now.

Let’s first cover the “lists” feature…

Facebook Lists

Facebook has pretty much taken the concept of organizing friends into different groups from its new rival Google+. This is what we know as “Circles” on G+ and what had all its users throwing positive feedback all over the Internet a couple of months back.

It makes total sense, the concept is based on filtering your updates to these different groups but there is a big difference here, Google+ launched its service with this feature already included which means that everything is already organized this way from the beginning. Facebook will have to go through a process and depend on its users to adapt it.

Smart Lists

To start, Facebook is making this optional so over the next few weeks you’ll get the chance to adapt it. The cool thing is that Facebook will create  what they’re calling “Smart Lists” to automatically group your friends into 4 main groups:

  • Work
  • School
  • Family
  • City

This is based on information you have provided, if Facebook sees that you and one of friends went to the same school, guess what… I think it will be fun to see what they come up with, don’t you?

Close Friends and Acquaintances Lists

Then you’ll have the option to edit and add some accuracy to your grouping by manually adding and removing friends. You’ll filter your friends into “Close Friends” and “Acquaintances” list.

By separating these 2 groups you’ll be able to see everything your “Close Friends” publish while you only get the “Important” stuff from your “Acquaintances”. I’m not sure about letting Facebook make the decision on what’s “Important”. I’m interested in knowing what you think, share in the comments.

When it comes to sharing your content you still have the other lists, if you want to make the post visible to your boss or coworkers, you will have to include the “Work” group when you publish, which is exactly the case with G+ and its “Circles”, as you can see in the following image.

Facebook - Share with who you want

When you get a new “Friend Request” you will get the option to assign that person to an existing group.

Facebook - Better suggestions

One of the cool additions in all this is how you can filter the News Feed to only see your “Close Friends” or “Acquaintances” and eliminate some of the clutter.

Facebook - Close friends feed

 

So that’s it in regards to the new Facebook “Lists” that will start to roll out in the next couple of weeks.

My Thoughts?

I certainly like the concept as I did when I saw it on G+ and in my opinion it makes total sense, of course it will require a little bit of your time to really organize stuff the way you want it.

The only thing I don’t like so far is Facebook deciding what’s important to deliver your “Acquaintances” so I’m not sure that I will complete that step.

Facebook Subscribe Button

The “Subscribe” button adds the Twitter concept of “Following”, which means I don’t need to be your friend or I don’t need your approval to receive your updates. I can already see your face but let me explain…

Facebook Subscribe button

The “Subscriber” brings a new relationship category to Facebook, it is the equivalent of the “Follower”. You are not necessarily friends with these people.

How about your privacy?

There are 2 options here to protect yourself:

The “Subscriber” button is totally optional, in the next few day you will have the option to add the button to your profile.

Facebook - Public content

If you decide to allow people to subscribe to your profile, they will only see the content you have set as “Public”. Remember that you now have the option to filter with lists.

How about the other way around?

Let’s start by having the option to subscribe to a person instead of sending a friend request. The concept makes total sense, you don’t need to establish a relationship with Seth Godin, Tom Peters or Deepak Chopra to consume their content. They are 1-way connections. There is nothing wrong with that.

Facebook - Subscribe to interesting people

Now if you think about it, the “Subscriber” is also the same thing as the “Like” button on Facebook Pages. Couldn’t they just add a “LIke” button to profiles instead?

Before you go kill your Facebook Page, the main difference between the page and the personal profile is that the profile does not have Facebook Insights.

What you want to see

Facebook is also giving you the option to decide how much and what kind of information you get from these subscriptions by filtering in 3 categories:

  • All Updates
  • Most Updates
  • Only Important

Which takes me back to the question of how is “Important” determined…

My Thoughts?

First, I’m not sure that I will subscribe to profiles. Isn’t that what Pages and Likes are for?

How About You?

But I know you probably want to say something too, please share your thoughts and questions in the comments section. I love to read your opinion in this matter.

Happy “Subscribing”!

  • I’m on Facebook because I feel that I have to be (by necessity if you will). My network is there. No amount of features is going to make me *want* to engage there more or like it better than Google+ (which I’ve been enjoying a great deal lately). 

  • What I want to know is whether or not you get notified that someone is subscribing to you. I may not be able to do anything about it, but it’d be nice to know if “creepy ex” is now subscribed to me. I guess that’s the risk I take if I’m willing to authorize that subscribe button.

    I can see this feature making sense for people who are one with their brand, and not into creating separate posts for profiles and pages. That being said, I’ll be keeping subscribers at bay for the time being. 

  • What I want to know is whether or not you get notified that someone is subscribing to you. I may not be able to do anything about it, but it’d be nice to know if “creepy ex” is now subscribed to me (not necessarily an issue for me, per se). I guess that’s the risk I take if I’m willing to authorize that subscribe button.

    I can see this feature making sense for people who are one with their brand, and not into creating separate posts for profiles and pages. That being said, I’ll be keeping subscribers at bay for the time being. 

  • Good point Dian, I think people need to make the distinction between a profile and a page and handle their personal and business (or branding) separately or really take the time to organize stuff.

    In my case everything is pretty much open, I figured I’m not really sharing anything online that will require filtering. But this is something very personal.

  • I hear you Ricardo… I think there is no argument there.

    Just circled you by the way.

  • The subscribe button seems a little creepy. It works on Twitter because you’re not sharing as much personal information. I agree with you. Isn’t that what a fan page is for? 

  • Jerry

    I’m not sure either what the subscribe button will do. Like the comment just prior to mine Brittany uses the word ‘creepy.’  I don’t know if I would go that far, but it seems to me like Facebook is in ‘reaction’ mode. Instead of being the innovator and the standard bearer they are now kind of knee-jerking in response to Google+. I’ll take a wait-and-see approach with this subscribe thing. That’s why I have a Like page.

  • Thanks for writing this up, Francisco. First, I just have to say, Facebook is so late in doing this. I find it frustrating because I wrote a year and half ago that they should implement circle-like Lists (http://blog.coherentia.com/index.php/2010/05/the-holes-in-facebooks-strategy-and-how-to-plug-them/). If I could figure it out, they sure as heck should have been able to!!

    But, that said, this looks like a pretty good implementation. I agree with you that I don’t trust Facebook to control what I see and want more control. I hope they also will give us the ability to make even more discrete Lists, if we want.

    One thing that is unclear to me, or is just possibly missing, how do I share ONLY to my Subscribers? I want to be able to share only to the people who have subscribed to me and not burden my personal friends with content that will only bore them. I don’t see a way to do this.

    Personally, I prefer the Subscribe option to creating a Facebook page, which I’ve resisted until now. I’d like to have insights, of course, but I think I can build a better fan base with people subscribing to me personally than to a business page. It’s also less maintenance and drives the traffic to my website, rather than building my page as a destination. I also hope that updates through a person rather than a business page will get seen more.

    Another issue, though, is how can you promote the Subscribe feature? Have you heard of any ways that Facebook will help us promote ourselves: Subscribe to me on Facebook? A plugin for our blogs, Facebook ads for this, etc?

  • I must be missing something here where “Lists” are concerned.  I’ve used FB lists for years.  It allows one to post content and select which a single list or multiple lists providing the ability to control content visibility.  It’s simple and effective.

  • I would for FB to initiate something new and not clone the site after other social media forums.

  • these updates are for good and people will not shift to google+ and even Facebook will overpower twitter

  • Mr. Wells that’s true indeed. But there’s one function that I can’t seem to find within the old ” lists ” and I’m thinking that maybe you can be of some service. It all lies in the aspect of sharing content from other sites/blogs, etc. to FB. There has ( or like I said, maybe I haven’t figured it out ) never been a way to share to your ” lists ” exclusively. If I’m correct with my assumption and this is something (which from the explanation of it, it sounds like it will be) that the new ” lists ” implements, this will by far be an improvement to a lot of people who were rapidly losing faith in FB and switching to G+.

  • I’m certainly in agreement with Mr. Wells on this. My question is: Can anyone point out the intricate difference between the old ” lists ” and the new ” lists ” function? With the subscriber function, when put next to Twitters follow function, FB is a day late and a dollar short on that one.

  • Ok, here is a add to the post if I may: When people send you a friend request, they’re subscribing automatically to your “Public” posts. And when you approve the request, the subscription fades away. I am asking now: How will this affect the numbers of “friends, Clients, Niche, Same interest folks” that we already have? I mean will people now stop accepting request to maximize their “subscribers” numbers just to look influential? (Klout score wh**res are pointed out lol)

  • I’m still waiting for them to allow you to block specific people on chat. That’s a basic feature of most chat clients. If this is possible someone please let me know lol
    The Subscribe button seem a bit weird. We aren’t friends but I wan to get your content anyways…

  • Not sure if this is what you’re talking about but I noticed it last night. You can’t actually block people from chat this way per se but it’s a function called limited availability. It only makes you available to chat with specific people. However; when I tried to use it, it only gave me the option to make myself available to chat with people who were on my list. Now …that’s another area to look into with the new lists function. Maybe there will be the option to create chat list.

  • Facebook’s Subscribe options sounds great. In addition to that Facebook recently hinted in a guide for “Subscribe for Public Figures” on its Developer page that individuals will soon able to sent status update to their Twitter account directly from Facebook. Read – http://bit.ly/q9sER2

  • Martha Giffen

    I’m not clear on the real purpose of the subscribe button. Right now, the jury is still out!

  • Caitlin Thiel

    I’m not sure how I feel about the subscribe button. Will Facebook give you the option to decline someones subscription? Say for instance, you have intentionally not friended someone and then they subscribe to you profile. Can you deny them? I’d like to know how that will work.

  • I think the competition between Goggle+ and FB is just starting. adapting both original concept and applying it to their own network. The list is something new for us in FB and I’m still not sure if I’m a fan of it. 

  • The News Feed has become useless in reality.  I have moved to using only lists to view things.  Reason being is that if I unsubscribe from someone so that their posts do not appear in my News Feed, then their posts do not appear in the list they are on either.

    An example would be Joe from Chicago.  He’s an acquaintance from 10 years ago.  He’s on my Chicago list.  Every once in awhile I want to see how all my old Chicago friends are doing so I check in to their list.  But I don’t want any of them on my News Feed.  FB is terrible at determining what is important or not important.  

  • PACO

    is there anyway to know whether someone put you as a Close Friend or Acquaintance and are now receiving all of your updates?

  • Lalalal

    This new changes are bullshit

  • Freakindrumdj07

    can i just set to people cant subscribe to me? its irritating when people can see when u send the comment, like, tagged etc. please help meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

  • instead of sharing there should be a privilege level which will help our sharing preferences

  • Tklossy

    if i subscribe to someone, will they see that i have? i want to be thier friend but it only lets me subscribe, so will they see it and friend me or contact me in someway?

  • Becca

    so when someone subscribes to me and i am not there friend can they see eeverything i post ? 

  • James Cannon

    I think the division into different circles is stupid and demeaning. I have found people who I considered friends now consider me an acquaintance, and this includes a relative. I cannot not help but feel dissed even though it might have been an oversight. Why cant we all be friends? Somehow this seems to be the work of some elitist idiot who works for facebook , and I predict  facebook will lose subscribers, and perhaps spawn a more kind social network sight.

  • Ebony

    They will only see the status updates that are made ‘public’. There is an option on the bottom right hand corner of the statis bar called ‘friends’ (this only appears once you have text in the status bar) that allows you to chose the security option for each status update.

  • Korean_noodles1025

    How about customized group? is it now gone? I am trying to update my list of friends, and trying to re-assign them to my own created list of people, and instead, I end up in circles. After one hour of manually doing my list assignment- nothing gets saved! and I end up with the same old list. Honestly, I find FB’s new features more complicated. I am never going “timeline”, that’s for sure!

  • Brandikamryn Bs

    I unsubscribed a few people, I’m a little confused … if I unsubscribe amd can no longer see friends updates – can they still see my own? Please let me know asap! (Thanks in advance)

  • if i want to friend someone, how do i do it if they just have the subscribe button? does that just mean i am friending them as usual..i do see a place where i can “friend” them?

  • That’s Nice post. I also wanna add a subscriber Button on my profile . How can i add that one plz help http://www.cheers4all.com/

  • Anna_neish94

    How do I check who’s assinged to a name on the list?

  • Tcason2

    i accidentally hit subscribe to someone and i dont want to be.how do  remove it? its still showing up after i unsubscribed!

  • Subodh Singh

    anyone knows how to add a person in chat list without adding him in friend list in here on facebook

  • Julierossmba

    What is the difference between “subscribe” and “Like”?  and what happens with all the likes I have in a page (4,995)  Will I still be able to send them messages?

  • Brilliant. This is an instructive short article. Thank you so much for spending some time to provide a really comprehensive piece of writing.

  • When it comes to sharing your content you still have the other lists, if you want to make the post visible to your boss or coworkers, 

  • KATTEYEZ2002

    MY FACEBOOK FEEDBACK LIMIT HAS BEEN REACHED HOW DO I CHANGE THIS

  • Lots of stuff happening on the Facebook sphere this week.

  • I love to read your opinion in this matter.

  • Which takes me back to the question of how is “Important” determined…

  • content and email marketing to generate traffic and convert to leads and sales

  • Now if you think about it, the “Subscriber” is also the same thing as
    the “Like” button on Facebook Pages. Couldn’t they just add a “LIke”
    button to profiles instead?

  • guest

    does a restriction of post for a list take higher priority or posting? 
    i.e. if one person is in 2 lists (eg: one smart list of work which FB forces you with and one friend list classified by user) and i wish to post to all people in my list but not smart list, will this X person be able to see?

  • Shari Lovelife

    Hey there,
    When I go to my profile I click subscribers an there’s people in there that I dont know that are subscribed what does this mean?

    Also if I go to a friends profile and click subscribers there’s people in there that they are not friends with what does that mean also?

    Thanx 🙂

  • First, I’m not sure that I will subscribe to profiles. Isn’t that what Pages and Likes are for?
     

  • I also help entrepreneurs and small businesses turn their vanilla 

  • Gurjeet Singh

    it’s helpful  Also if I go to a friends profile and click subscribers there’s people in there that they are not friends with what does that mean also?
    http://gurjeetguri.blogspot.com

  • There is nothing wrong with that.

  •  the main difference between the page and the personal profile is that the profile does not have Facebook Insights.

  • Jordanswebmail-delete

    I did a test. I subscribed to a personal timeline. I now have the ability to see not only their public posts, BUT also their posts and likes on other people’s pages that I am not friends with. I have a stalker. I have blocked my stalker. Now my stalker has subscribed to my friends page and can read all conversations I have with that friend when he posts or likes on my page. Has that been your experience also? I would love an answer to my question if you could make the time. Thank you.

  • Jordanswebmail-delete

    Do you know anyway around this problem short of me cancelling my facebook timeline?

  •  FB is terrible at determining what is important or not important. 

  • Lots of stuff happening on the Facebook sphere this week

  • SocialMouths and get right to the point explaining the new updates.

  • I though it would be cool to take it down a notch for the reader at
    SocialMouths and get right to the point explaining the new updates.

  • The new features are 2, so far (hey, the week is not over), “Lists”
    and the “Subscribe” button. We’ll discuss both of them and I’ll tell you
    exactly what they do.

  • Facebook will have to go through a process and depend on its users to adapt it.

  • Couldn’t they just add a “LIke” button to profiles instead?

  • What had all its users throwing positive feedback all over the Internet a couple of months back.

  • I guess that’s the risk I take if I’m willing to authorize that subscribe button.

  • The new features are 2, so far (hey, the week is not over), “Lists”
    and the “Subscribe” button. We’ll discuss both of them and I’ll tell you
    exactly what they do.
     

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  • I love the way no one puts dates on their blogs. That way “this week” is always “this week” even though the last comment was a year ago. Pet peeve along with online small town newspapers that don’t put what State they’re in.

  • Bo Schaefer

    FB is screwing things up by “enhancing” this. I can guarantee people
    won’t be showing up in the appropriate lists and there will be much more
    “managing” necessary.

    http://www.dentalprofessionalsonwhitesburg.com/

  • Emma Barry

    What
    is the difference between “subscribe” and “Like”? and what happens
    with all the likes I have in a page (4,995) Will I still be able to
    send them messages?

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