Facebook’s New Messages- What It Means to Teens

facebook messages 2010 update

You may have heard some news of Facebook introducing an update to their Messages system, taking it well beyond just a private version of Chat. Seeing as most of us spend most of our time on Facebook, this new update is pretty newsworthy particularly for us teens. So what exactly is it, and more importantly– what exactly does it mean to you? We’ve got the full breakdown after the jump, so read on.

The Info

There has been a lot of talk leading up to this event about Facebook introducing a “Gmail killer.” While we’re not sure it’s just that yet,  Facebook definitely has made a move to completely change how we connect with the world.

This new update, which should begin being rolled out sometime over the coming months (initially via invite only– more on this later), looks to make messaging (email like messaging not IM or texting) more instantaneous and generally easier to use.

As we all know, emails are already pretty much instant. Once you hit that send button your email is delivered to whomever you chose to send it to no matter where they are. Now emails also can at times be a little annoying, for example the need to have subject lines and the difficult way to keep your emails, texts, IMs and other online conversations in one place. There is a lack of “flow” for conversations, such as when you start a conversation with a friend in a text in the middle of the day, then move to IM when you get your computer, and then to email once you decide to go to sleep for the night. Parts of the conversation are, as Facebook put it, “locked” on a particular service or device. That’s where the new Messages comes in– no matter where or on what device the conversation starts, you can keep track of it wherever you are and on whatever device, in one simple conversation history.

Another big announcement today is the ability for anyone to make an @facebook.com email address. Using your Facebook username, this would be a full email service like Yahoo!, Hotmail, AOL and Gmail. Of course, Facebook needs to do something to make someone want to use their service as opposed to the others, and beyond better integration with the aforementioned features, Facebook email accounts have some interesting features of their own to separate itself from those other email services. The biggest of Facebook’s email features is a “Social Inbox.” This form of inbox gives priority status to the emails of your Facebook friends as opposed to people you don’t know, meaning upon first set-up you will only see emails from your friends and their friends.

That’s not to say you can’t add people who aren’t on Facebook to this “priority” part of your inbox. Any email you receive that’s not from a Facebook friend will go into the “Other” folder. From this folder you can read all your other messages and if it’s from someone important, you can even add them to your main inbox for easier future viewing.

Otherwise, Facebook email is just like your current email, with a SPAM folder for junk mail, the ability to block people from emailing you (you can even do this to an annoying Facebook friend), and being able to attach and share files. (Oh, and the new Facebook email also gets rid of those “formalities” of email such as the subject line– making all forms of conversation like a text or IM).

What This Means To You

Without a doubt there are a lot of nice and new features here to make messaging your friends a whole lot easier. And if you’re a Facebook addict, this is probably the perfect way for you to stay even more connected.

That being said, while there are a few issues to me about how everything fully works (such as how different emails are grouped subject wise, as everything seems to be grouped by the contact’s name and not by content or a subject), the biggest thing about all of this to me is if you’re using your email to apply to a college or for a summer job, do you really want it to say @facebook.com? Let’s face it, any new email accounts we’re making at this point most probably is so that we have a more “professional” looking account for more “serious issues” (not that there’s anything wrong with using your screen name you made in 4th grade as your main email today), particularly if you don’t want people to get their first impressions of you by looking at your Facebook (which still might happen, but sending from Facebook makes it a whole lot easier).

What do you think– do you see yourself switching over and using your Facebook as your main email, or do you plan on staying with a more “accepted” and “common” email service like Gmail, Yahoo!, AOL and Hotmail? Do you think it’s a good idea to apply to colleges and jobs using an @facebook.com email compared to one of those other email accounts? Would you use your Facebook email for that? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

If you are interested in signing up for the new Messages, you can request an invite here. You can also see a video detailing some of the new features at Facebook’s official Facebook page.

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Posted on November 16, 2010, in Facebook and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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