What does it mean to follow on Facebook

Subscriptions are a function with which you can have publicly switched status updates of a person displayed on your own home page, even without friendship, next to those of friends or from fan pages. Friends are always subscribers anyway, which also shows their postings on the home page. Instead of just friends, you can also allow others to subscribe (see picture). A subscriber who is not a friend logically only sees what is publicly posted.

There is a second effect: You cannot allow friends to "like" and comment either.

Before they were introduced, there was only the option of either opening a fan page or accepting many friendships. After confirmation, friends have a relatively high number of rights to view content. It is not for nothing that Facebook advises you to only accept people as friends who you really know personally. And also operates active security measures, which also signal that Facebook does not see itself as an "exchange" for new contacts via this platform: blocking for friend requests. Of course, you can also restrict access via privacy, but tools such as the ticker still provide ample opportunities to find out something about the other person. It is not for nothing that we warn against accidentally or consciously created people who are in reality companies or organizations as friends: "Friends" with an organizer, calendar or information portal? Security problem!

On the other hand, there are many people who have something worth knowing or interesting to share and who also want to. Since personal profiles are limited to a maximum of 5000 friends, you only had to create one page of yourself. For a single person in particular, however, this meant a doubling of the effort and often also less solidarity, since not every cell phone photo was uploaded twice or every public comment was posted twice.

The subscriptions have solved this problem. By allowing subscribers, a person (at least 18 years of age) can now allow interested parties to view public postings on their home page without immediately entering into a friendship. A relief for many celebrities.

I have also allowed people to comment on my reports and learn a lot from it, how people who are actually completely unknown to me react. On publicly posted, however, because subscribing does not change your privacy. What is posted purely to friends or even to individual lists is not visible to subscribers, but really only what has been made public by the author. The same applies to photos, notes or any other part of your own chronicle.

The function itself can be configured in the account settings under subscribers:

In your own profile under Friends -> "Subscriptions" you can set who can see the list of subscribers.

It is interesting that the comments allow. Usually only friends are allowed to comment on something, even if it has been posted publicly. This button also allows others to comment on what they can see.

What does this bring for me as a user?

The benefit is obvious with celebrities. So you can be even closer to someone you are interested in. But not only that: I have, for example, included some people who work on Facebook in my subscriptions. Except for one, I would describe their private life as unspectacular. However, I love it when new projects or information relating to Facebook are sometimes posted, with which you can get to know FB operation from a completely different perspective.

Many of my own friends have very similar interests to mine. In addition to the ability to simply go to other profiles and see if there is a "subscribe" button to be found, you can also see the suggestions that Facebook makes on its special page: Suggested Subscriptions

Lists

People who are subscribed can, as well as pages, be combined into lists. In this way, they can be arranged into subject areas. You can see it here in the picture. I have made a list of music in which I summarize postings from my favorite artists. In the settings, I can also choose separately for each subscription what I want to see on my home page.

The most important difference between friends and interests lists is that you can subscribe to other people's interest lists yourself. You could now add my list of Facebook pages to your interests like your own.

But: Postings from members in this list do not appear automatically on your start page, because you have not subscribed to the person yourself. So if you want to see postings from this list, you have to call up this list in the menu on the left. Recently, however, Facebook has been "sending" you occasional updates on your home page about what is happening within the lists.

The music list is my own and therefore blue, while the green "Middle Ages" is "only" subscribed to and is created and maintained by someone else. I only see status updates for this list when I click on it. However, Facebook occasionally displays a summary on my homepage.

The interest lists of others can be found under the Subscriptions tile.

Facebook's confusions:

According to Facebook, you also "subscribe" to friends and the old profile always had the "subscribed" button on friends, which led to some confusion. "Subscribe" is simply that you can see someone else's status messages on the home page and in the ticker. A friendship always contains a subscription, as this also shows the updates on the start page, but a friendship has significantly more rights.

In the chronicle, the counter now logically reads "Friends".

Summary

1.) Subscribing means nothing else than having status updates displayed on your own homepage. This does not change the private sphere. Someone who is not friends with me can only see publicly geoposted or approved ones of me.

2.) Different subscriptions can be summarized as a list of interests. If you click on this on the left in the menu, you get a start page that is filled exclusively with postings from members of the list.

3.) You can also subscribe to lists of other people. So you don't have to create or maintain your own.

You can tell that Facebook is made by programmers. I would be happy if I could bring some light into the dark here.

The plugin for your own homepage

There are Facebook plugins like the Like button that you can integrate on your own homepage. There is also one for subscriptions. Instructions are available in the developer area. Then it looks like this: