Raahil Chopra
Dec 02, 2010

All About: Facebook Messages

Raahil Chopra reports on implications of the new Facebook Messages

All About: Facebook Messages

Facebook has rolled out its new messaging system called Facebook Messages which enables users to text, chat and email each other in one simple conversation.  Along with this, Facebook has also launched an @facebook.com ID for users. On this ID, users will have control over who sends messages to them, with options of a full privacy setting.

1. Through Facebook Messages users can be in constant touch with friends. Although users are given an @facebook.com ID, Facebook insists that this is not a mailing system but just a way of staying in constant touch with friends. To send messages, users do not need to put in subject lines or any other things that are a part of regular emails. Pictures, songs and other files can be sent to users, live during the conversation itself without the need of opening new windows or mailboxes. With Facebook Messages, one has easy access to all private conversations with friends in one place.Kumar Subramaniam,  executive vice president, Contract Advertising believes the nomenclature that Facebook has used -’message’ instead of ‘mail’ taps into today’s culture of texting. “Cues short, immediate, chatter; unlike mail which cues almost formal, longer form, Facebook Messages taps into the culture of our times - it’s inspired more by SMSes than email. I think over a period of time, Facebook Messages will become a primary form of casual, written communication. There will be traditional email but that will be more for professional  or official use,” he said.

2. The new Messages interface displays Messages exchanged with friends and also interweaves chats, texts and emails (if an @facebook.com address is created). It’s a central place to control all private communications, both on and off Facebook. When a conversation is viewed, a complete history of all the communication shared with that person on Facebook is provided. Facebook says, “It’s like having an ongoing record of your friendship”.Prasanth Mohanachandran, founder, Agency Digi, predicts that Facebook Messages will hasten the shift from email among the next generation. He said, “Adoption of email is already low among the young with increasing preference for instant messages and SMS. The biggest implication would be that young people brought up on Facebook Messages are likely to permanently adapt to it as an alternative to email. The other (in combination with features in Yahoo! and Gmail of Priority Mail) would be that spam could see a momentary pause. It will be increasingly difficult for marketing communication to get into the inbox.”With Facebook Messages, all conversations are streamed into one place no matter what the mode of communication has been previously. Add to that, the filtering feature, users can choose what they want to read/view before seeing other mails. Attachments, consisting of pictures, videos and music can be sent in real time with Facebook Messages. If one is using the @facebook ID, the CC and BCC functionality is also provided.

3. Will Facebook Messages affect other websites such as Google? Subramaniam answers, “Facebook messages may successfully do what Google tried not very successfully, with Buzz and Wave. I believe there’s a good reason why Facebook is likely to succeed where Google stumbled; at its core Facebook is fundamentally about community and networks. So exchanging messages across those communities and networks is most natural; it’s a great fit. Google has famously said it’s vision is to help organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible. It’s no surprise that Gmail is absolutely wonderful at helping us organise communication. It’s a great communication tool. But when it tries social products like Buzz or Wave, it feels clumsy and bit awkward. Feels like it’s not meant for this.”

4. With the new service having privacy settings that would prevent brands from sending out mails to users, monetising this could turn out to be a challenge for Facebook. Mohanachandran said, “Facebook Messages will ensure that the time spent by users will increase on Facebook. This means that exposure to the ads on Facebook( in the right pane) will also increase. So without doing anything new they will still increase revenues.”

What it means for...

Users

  • No Spam emails
  • Increase in informal conversations
  • Faster and recorded interaction
  • Smart filtering

Advertising

  • User can control who is able to send him/her messages so advertisers will not be able to leverage this in the way that they are able to send mass messages through email.
  • Facebook has stated that they will not monetise this initially
Source:
Campaign India

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