In case you’ve been completely detached from internet news lately, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the newest change to Facebook will be the rollout of a new Facebook Messages. During the press conference, Zuckerberg was quoted as saying “This is not e-mail…We don’t think that a modern messaging system is going to be e-mail.” Yet, e-mail is a key component of this new system. Rather, the New Messages is intended to be a one-stop-shop for all of your messaging needs… texts, chat and email all in one central location.
The first feature is that all of your messages will be in one place. And in the era of days where every nano-second counts and having to check 3 different email addresses, your phone for SMS messages and being logged into 4 different chat programs all at the same time, the new messages seems to offer a convenient way of keeping it all in one place. Next is the full conversation history. Yes, that means that Facebook will be archiving all of your messages for the rest of time. Convenient if you lose your phone or your hard drive crashes? Perhaps. But, knowing the track record of Facebook regarding privacy issues, I’d be cautious about how this is used. Everyone freaked out when Gmail announced that text in your emails would be scanned to trigger appropriate ads for you but it never ended up being that big a deal. But archiving all of your online communications? A tad scary. Lastly, Facebook claims to deliver the messages you want. People you talk to on a regular basis will simply be placed in your inbox, but what does that say for a communication with a new entity? What if you sign up for a newsletter from Shutterfly or jimsuselessblog.com? How will that be filtered since you have no history with that individual or entity?
And in much the same way that Gmail or the iPhone products structure messages in the continuous conversation format, the new facebook messages will stack all of your messages into the conversation format rather than an individual message format. This is nice, but I find that it can make it difficult to find a particular message from someone in a long line of messages. Maybe this will not be an issue with the new Facebook format, but it is an issue for me in Gmail.
So as an email marketer, I and my peers are VERY keen to see how this will affect our ability to get messages to our users. Will Facebook add deliverability issues for ESPs and ISPs? Will email marketers need to format emails specifically for Facebook Messages? How will the HTML display and will our ESPs give us the ability to preview how a message will look in Facebook? Will users abandon all other email service providers in favor of a massively centralized solution? Only time will tell. All I know is that I am eager to have my account rolled over to the new system so I can start testing and experimenting with how this will affect the way I communicate in the digital world.