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Facebook – Probably Not an Email Killer


Facebook. Once it was a way for bored students to try and identify people on their course who might be able to provide notes from missed lectures. Now, it’s going to change the way that human beings communicate with each other (stop us if you think you’ve heard this one before).

Apparently, Mark Zuckerberg and the Facebook product development team think that email is outdated, and social mail is the way forward.

Social Mail?

According to Zuckerberg, social mail will let Facebook’s 560 million users communicate the way they want. Via email (with a special @facebook.com address), through an SMS message or by sending a Facebook message. It’s going to contain less spam (although hyper-targeted Facebook ads must be a given) and be more efficient than it’s biggest webmail competitor, Google’s Gmail.

What Does It All Mean?

Facebook are making some huge claims about the service, which could prove difficult to live up to.

  • Facebook messaging will make phone numbers obsolete
  • Facebook messaging will kill off email
  • Facebook messaging will mean that all online human interaction will take place on Facebook.com

As you can imagine, some of us in the FirstFound office are very skeptical of these claims, while others think that it could be a real game-changer.

Adam Ramsden, Web Designer, has this to say:

It’s going to change the way people communicate. Everyone loves Facebook, and they spend hours on it anyway – so this just removes any reasons they have to leave. I think it’s going to be huge. Although I have just read the press release in the Metro, and I am easily led.

The more sane and sober people in the office have made the following points that suggest Facebook Messaging might not be a huge success.

  • An @facebook.com email address will look very unprofessional
  • It’s on-trend for teenagers, but businesses won’t want to conduct deals on a service famous for embarrassing photos of drunk people
  • Mobile phones already give you access to SMS, email and Facebook, as well as telephone calls and video calls – why swap all that functionality for an application by a company that’s notoriously bad at privacy?
  • You can message on Facebook already, and that’s hardly changed the world
  • Everyone already has an email address – why go to the trouble of setting up a new one?

On the balance of things, this probably won’t change the world. But don’t be overly surprised if this article is shown up to be a huge piece of Luddite-ism over the coming months.

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