I got my notification tonight inviting me to switch to the new Facebook messaging platform. If you’re interested, I recorded a screencast of my life switch so you can see how it should go and how simple it is. It’s posted for public viewing at Exploring Social Media (more about that on Monday).
At first glance, it just seems like a neat feature update for the user. But think beyond your personal satisfaction (or something else to complain about) for a moment and think about what this does for Facebook. Integrating email (along with giving every user an @facebook.com email address) and text messaging into the same place you get your Facebook messages now brings many users a single inbox. No, that’s not true for businesses. But for consumers, it is.
Facebook has always billed itself as a social utility. It now becomes much more of one as people will begin to rely on the network for unified communication. Facebook smart phone apps will become the mobile destination of choice (if they aren’t already) for many people, and not just young people. Like it or not, this will drive even more users and more interaction on the site and make Facebook more of a necessity for people, rather than an entertainment option.
Some other immediate items to know about the functionality:
- All the messages you send to and from someone are archived and threaded so y ou can keep an ongoing log of your communications with them. You can delete threads with a few steps, but know that you may need to do some inbox cleaning after the transition to archive a lot of old conversations.
- You can send and receive messages via text message using the interface. Very handy for communicating with younger generations. I wouldn’t expect to see this come to the Facebook brand pages anytime soon, so don’t get your marketing hopes up. Page messages still go into the “Other” inbox which most people won’t look at.
- You can email to an off-site address by simply typing it in the TO: field. Nice.
Do you have access yet? What do you think? Will you use Facebook more for staying in touch with people? Does the texting feature make it more appealing or confusing? The comments are yours.