How to Follow Facebook Updates of Non-Friends (Tutorial)

There are several people on Facebook whose updates I would like to read, but I don’t necessarily want to be “friends” with them.

Enter Facebook’s “Follow” button. If a user displays a “Follow” button on his or her profile, you can see their public updates in your News Feed, much like when you follow someone on Twitter and their updates display in your Twitter steam.

The key thing to remember when you follow (subscribe to) someone’s updates is that you’ll only see their PUBLIC updates.

How to make the “Follow” button show on your own profile

This is currently an optional feature, so you’ll need to activate it. The easiest way is to log in to your Facebook account and click http://www.facebook.com/about/follow. You’ll see a screen that looks like this:

Facebook Follow

You can customize your follower settings any time by clicking the gear icon in the top righthand corner of your Facebook account.

  • Select “Account Settings” and then click “Followers” in the lefthand sidebar.
  • Click the radio button to “Turn on Follow.”
  • You can choose whether you want followers to be able to comment on your public updates, and whether you want to be notified when people follow you and when they share, like, or comment on your public posts.
  • You can also decide whether you want search engines to index your personal Timeline profile, so people can more easily find and follow your public updates.
  • At the very bottom of the “Follower Settings” there’s a little link that says, “Want to know what followers can see? View your public timeline.” I suggest clicking this link and then customizing the parts of your profile that you do and don’t want the public to see.

Note that when you allow people to follow your public updates, you can’t pick and choose who gets to subscribe. ANYONE who you haven’t blocked will be able to see your public updates in their News Feed.

How to determine whether an update is “public”

Two ways.

  1. Customize your account’s privacy settings http://www.facebook.com/settings/?tab=privacy.
  2. As you update your status, click the icon to the left of the blue “Post” button and choose the “Public” option. You can customize how every update you post displays.

Public Updates

How to follow a non-friend’s updates

If you visit someone else’s profile and want to follow their public updates, click their “Follow” button. If they allow the “Follow” option, you’ll see the button in the lower righthand portion of their cover photo, between “Add Friend” and “Message.”

Follow button on Cover Photo

After you click “Follow” the button will change to “Following.”

You can hover over the “Following” button and customize what types of updates you want to see, how often you want to see them, and whether you want to receive a notification when this person updates their Timeline.

You can also add them to an Interest List or unfollow them.

How to decipher the “See Which Updates?” option:

  • All Updates = everything that person posts.
  • Most Updates = the amount you’d normally see (this is rather vague, but I got it straight from the Facebook blog)
  • Only Important = just highlights, like a new job or move

You can further customize this option by checking or unchecking the following options:

  • Life Events
  • Status Updates
  • Photos
  • Games
  • Comments and Likes
  • Music and Videos
  • Other Activity

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