Facebook New Message System and Email

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facebook the new messagesYes, you will get your email address in the form of the @facebook.com. Today Facebook announced its new message system. During the announcement Mark Zuckerberg described how regular email is slow and adds up to a lot of cognitive load with its subjects, signature, attachments. There’s also a lot of noise in email. Noise of non-personal messages.

The main points of Facebook’s new message system are:

  • single conversation history
  • seamless integration
  • social inbox

Threading model is outdated. You will have one continuous conversation with a person, forever. Mark thinks they should take features away from messaging and make it really simple, combining all messaging into seamless flow.

Throughout the presentation Mark and Andrew Bosworth repeated that “this is not email”. It is something else… Maybe an evolutionary step towards better messaging. Something that will not replace email right now. Facebook aims to combine all modes of online messaging and text/sms. Facebook and other IM, email, texting, all messaging unified always available in a single stream. If you are online the message will arrive as a chat. If you are out you might get it as a text.

“We want people to be able to communicate in whatever way they choose: email, text or Facebook message,” notes Facebook spokeswoman Meredith Chin. “People are given the choice to opt in to having a Facebook e-mail address as a way to have one destination for all of their messages. But, this product is not e-mail. It is modeled much more after Chat.”

Another important part of the system is the social inbox where all your messaging is weighted through your social graph. This feature will sort your communications into three lots. The main inbox, the other folder (for instance non-Facebook email will go there) and junk.

Social inbox helps to filter out only messages you care about. This comes from the idea that the real way to fight spam is a white list. But no one wants to build lists and in Facebook you don’t have to, you’ll get it automagically. In some ways this may resemble GMail’s priority inbox but based on a different technology.

Statistics show that personal messaging is moving away from the email into faster channels. Facebook has caught an important trend here and if they can really make it simple enough then this will speed up the process.

Companies will still use email for years to come but important messages could move to this system. Analyzing emails you get from people who are not on Facebook will help them understand your social graph better. There might be messages from friends you don’t want to see or a message from IRS that you definitely need to read.

Bouncing messages. One thing that social graph and white lists enable people to do is not accept messages from people they don’t want to talk to. With email this is not an option. Sure you can set up a filter that will route that Obnoxious Guy directly to spam but he can actually send you a message and you will receive it.

Among other things the system will have message forwarding where you can forward just a single piece of the conversation not the whole thing. There will be group conversations where you can add many friends.

As for storage… there’s no account size limit if you are not abusing the system. If you test the limits you’ll find them.

Facebook email

Google Wave failed. It was just too complex. Too revolutionary. Facebook has huge momentum going for them. There are 350 million users sending 4 billion messages a day. Facebook is evolving their system, streamlining, integrating. This just might work.

What this means for the marketer. You will probably have a lot less impact sending those newsletters. Newsletter destination will most likely be the other folder or just junk. Even for the subscribed lists because its relevance to your social graph seems low.

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Priit Kallas

Priit is the founder and CEO of DreamGrow Digital, an internet marketing and social media company. With his 20+ years internet marketing experience he is Helping companies to understand and use the digital marketing to reach their target audiences. He's also writing on a personal growth website Fixwillpower.com. He has spoken at hundreds of seminars and conferences on different aspects of internet marketing. Priit is also the organizer of Digital Elite Camp, a leading traffic and conversion event.

3 Responses

  1. NotTelling says:

    I REALLY hope this is optional/Opt-in, and not Opt-out. I DON’T Want facebook to know what emails my friends send me, or what job interview i would or would not have, or where they’re going. They admitted they watch what people message to each other, and this is a new low. If this is an opt-out situation, I’m Opting out of facebook altogether.

  2. Priit Kallas says:

    An overview of the Facebook New Message System with screenshots and explanations http://www.scribd.com/doc/42668422/New-Messages

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