Yesterday Facebook announced their Subscribe feature (you can read more from Facebook here). It is an important step as it changes the relationship of users: friends, followers, two-way delivery, etc. It is also interesting that it comes on the heels of intelligent friend grouping as both impact the way that people think of friendships and building out their graph. Will users reconstruct their graphs? Doubtful.... after 50 friends, I gave up trying on a new slate at Google +. So will subscribe catch up in a 1:1 dominated Facebook world? Not sure from a friend perspective.
But absolutely from a brand / publisher perspective. This is an opportunity for big voices (journalists, bloggers, etc) and the brands that represent them: Washington Post, ESPN, NYTimes, TechCrunch, etc) to better leverage Facebook. To date, Twitter has been easier in pushing content for these types of voices and organizations.... now Facebook has that power too. And combined with the Like Buttons and site-integrations, that is powerful.
The next step needs to be Subscribe widgets and buttons - which work perfectly for the above audiences. Just as publishers integrate like buttons atop each page, there should be in-line opportunities to subscribe to the author.... which is a big, big benefit for the author, the network and Facebook.