The New Facebook Messages: Not So Evil

Nov 27

The New Facebook Messages: Not So Evil

I logged into Facebook this morning and I noticed that I had an odd notification… It was poking at my Messages in my sidebar, asking me to try the new messaging system.

It bragged about having text, email, and chats all in one conversation view… I was skeptical at first, since I don’t all of “my eggs in one basket”.

This IS a limited rollout of a new feature, so I was excited to get to try it before everybody else. I opted in right away.

This is what I was greeted with, it kept floating over my Facebook until I opted in our out, but knowing its a limited rollout, I didn’t want to turn it away.

Once I was in, the new message window already looked infinitely better than the previous system. I seen a large messaging pane with a long list of recent conversations.

It then asked me to create an @facebook.com email address, but strangely didn’t give me the option to customize it, it had to be my Facebook username, which is fine, but some users still don’t have these… I wonder what would happen if a user without a public username got rolled into this limited rollout. I’m guessing it would force them to create a public username to go along with the email address.

Facebook didn’t waste any time moving onto the next (albeit, alarming) feature… text messages within the messages system. This has been a red flag and received a lot of bad press during the initial presentations, however once Facebook explained it to me, it didn’t seem so bad. If a user sends me a message, they have the OPTION to send it to my phone as well, in which case you’ll get a message from FBOOK on your phone with the users message which you can then reply to via SMS and they’ll get it in their Facebook inbox. This isn’t a terrible feature, and not as scary as it once seemed, so I opted in for this as well to get the full experience.

Once I popped in my info, I got the verification code.

After that it informed me I already had Facebook chat enabled, and it started instantly logging all of my chat messages with Facebook users. This is a great feature, but I already keep my Facebook chats logged with Pidgin, so it’s a bit redundant for me, but as long as it’s taking up space in the cloud, and not on my local PC, I guess I’m fine with it.

It should be noted that any of these features CAN be turned off, you don’t have to give Facebook the option to send you text messages at all, and you can (as always) shut of Facebook chat.

After using it for the day, I can say it’s not nearly as evil as everybody thought. Mark Zuckerberg even noted that it was NOT meant to replace email, and it’s fairly obvious that Facebook isn’t taking a stab at email, it’s just trying to make it’s messaging feature more user-friendly, and that’s not a bad thing at all.


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