Facebook today announced that every user's Timeline profile page will soon include "Follow" buttons instead of "Subscribe" buttons. The move is an obvious effort to encourage users to follow celebrities and other public figures on Facebook instead of on Twitter. Evidently, the term "Subscribe" wasn't clear enough to Facebook users, while "Follow me" was pioneered by Twitter but appears in just about every social application you'll use today.
The new Follow button will have the same effect as the old Subscribe button, the company says. When you click Follow on Sheryl Sandberg's Facebook page, you'll begin seeing public updates from her in your News Feed. Alongside the Follow button is the Add Friend button; as always, if someone accepts you as a friend, you'll both see updates from each other in the News Feed. Subscribe, like Follow, has always been a one-side affair, but its meaning was not quite clear enough according to Facebook.
The company said, in a statement:
Starting today we are updating the term "Subscribe" to become "Follow" across the site as we found it is a term that resonates better with people on the service. Nothing is changing about how the feature works.
While the function of Subscribe hasn't changed, today's purely visual update is an obvious concession to the times — an admission that Facebook lingo isn't always permanent.
Have your subscribers become followers yet? Do you prefer the new word? Is there a subtle competitive anti-Twitter strategy at work here? Let us know in the comments.