How to use Facebook subscriptions

We show you how to cut down on noise and use Facebook's subscription chatter to promote your own posts.

When Facebook introduced subscriptions, it greatly simplified the task of taming your news feed. Previously, if one of your friends spent all their time checking in every time they got to work, home, the pub and so on, filling up your screen with useless waffle, you had little choice but to 'unfriend' them, and risk them taking offence and doing the same to you in real life. Now, instead, you can pick and choose what you see.

At the same time, you can now subscribe to people who you don't specifically follow and allow others to do the same to you, increasing the potential audience for the updates you're posting. Here we'll show you how to work both sides of the subscriptions equation, to both quieten down the people you follow and gain more followers yourself.

Tame your newsfeed

By default you're already subscribed to updates from all of your friends. That's logical, but not always appropriate -- particularly not if you've 'friended' an organisation, either to be in with the chance of winning a prize or to help a friend with a business get their own page name.

In that case you might want to quieten them down so you only hear their most important updates. There are two ways to do this. The first is to hover over one of their updates when it appears in your news feed and click the down-pointing arrow in the upper right corner of that section. Here, you can select what you'd like to see from 'all updates', 'most updates' or 'only important updates'.

 

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The second method gives you much finer-grained control over what you read about a person or organisation. Click their name to open their full profile and hover over the Subscribed button at the top of the page.

This will drop down a list of options, including 'all updates', 'most updates' and 'only important updates', and the various kinds of information that count as an update, including life events, photos and so on.

It's 'most updates' that interests us here, so click each item on the list that you no longer want to see in your newsfeed from this particular member and then click away to close it and save your choices.

 

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Spreading the word

Sometimes, people might want to read what you have to say while you yourself don't want to add them as friends. Depending on your privacy settings, that could previously have meant that they were locked out of your updates.

Fortunately, though, subscriptions can help here, too. Visit facebook.com/about/subscribe and click the Allow Subscribers button, then select who can subscribe to your updates. Change this so that everyone can read both your comments and notifications.

 

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Now, when people come across your profile they will be able to subscribe to your updates without first having to be authorised as a friend.

To see how this works, find someone who has enabled subscriptions (if you don't know of any, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has enabled it on his profile) and click the Subscribe button.

 

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About the author

    Nik Rawlinson has been writing about tech since Windows 95 was looking distinctly futuristic. He is a former Editor of MacUser magazine and one-time scribe for Personal Computer World. Nik is a freelance writer and is not an employee of CNET.

     

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