On Wednesday, Facebook published some stats on how the Subscribe feature has been used, particularly by public figures and journalists. The subscribe button, which launched in September 2011, lets people receive public updates from another Facebook user in their News Feeds without adding them as a friend.
According to Facebook, reporters have been especially receptive to the feature. The number of journalists who have enabled the subscribe button since September is now in the thousands, Facebook said in a blog post. The feature has become popular at some of the media industry’s most reputable publications: More than 90 Washington Post journalists have subscribe buttons on Facebook, as do more than 50 New York Times journalists (and GigaOM’s in the game too — you can subscribe to Om Malik’s updates on Facebook here.)
The reason so many journalists have added the subscribe button may be because of the big audience they find there. The average journalist has seen a 320-percent increase in subscribers since Nov. 2011, Facebook says. However, that figure seems a bit fuzzy, as it’s extrapolated from a sample Facebook took of just 25 journalists who enabled subscribe in September. Even though Facebook says the sample included local, national, and international journalists, averages are always tricky to count on, given that just a few big fish can skew the overall figure (NBC Today Show anchor Ann Curry has 348,000 subscribers, for example.)
Regardless of the nitty-gritty details, it seems the subscribe feature has become quite popular overall, especially with the chattering classes — giving Facebook even more weight as a growing media powerhouse.