Did Facebook Just Kill the Public Figure Fan Page?

This week Facebook announced yet another new way to share and read information posted by other Facebook users. In addition to the slew of new privacy controls, including an inline feature that allows users to utilize Facebook friend lists to limit who can see a post, Facebook is now adopting a model familiar to Twitter and Google+ users. Now, Facebook users who are not even friends with another Facebook user can see public updates from the other user by subscribing to their public posts.

This feature effectively kills the need for a “public” fan page for public figures, journalists, tech bloggers, and other types of well-known Internet celebrities. Fan pages are not a reciprocal friendship, but in the past have been ideal so that these “public figures” can keep a private Facebook profile for their real friends and family and post their articles or other opinions about related industry news and trends for anyone else to read. With the new subscribe feature available for Facebook users, these public figures no longer need to maintain essentially two profiles, which can be confusing for Facebook users. Even Chris’ girlfriend admits that one of the reasons they even met was because she didn’t know the difference between his personal profile and his fan page.

Could the Subscribe Button Facebook Kill Fan Pages?Now, individual Facebook users (not businesses) can maintain one page to not only be more easily found by friends, family, and fans alike, but also so they can more easily manage content. Choosing to post the content that previously appeared on a fan page as public content on a personal page can make it easier to share content and eliminates the need to post a blog article twice, which some considered to be spammy.

Fan pages were a popular move for many public figures, as Facebook had set a friend limit of 5,000 friends, which were quickly maxed out by these Facebook users. With the new subscribe feature, you can still be friends with as many or as few other Facebook users within the scope of this limit, but you can now feed content from your personal page to an unlimited number of those who aren’t your friends while giving them access to your profile and other content as you define. This new option duplicates the needs and functions of fan pages for public figures, and as a result will likely kill the need for fan pages entirely.

If you have a Facebook fan page, will you switch your method of communicating with fans and use the new subscribe feature? Let us know your thoughts of this new feature in the comments.

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Kelly Clay, author of Blog Without Boundaries, is a freelance writer and lifestyle advisor.