BHW1 Advertising, Design, & Interactive

Facebook Messaging: Scary Cool, or Just Plain Scary?

Facebook recently announced Facebook Messaging–a new service of the social media giant that will attempt to corral all forms of communication (including text, chat and email from multiple email addresses) in one “social inbox.”

The service is planned to be introduced by invitation only to the more than 500 billion members over the next few months . While Zuckerburg believes people will not automatically give up current email accounts, he is hopeful the up and coming generation (who are “already used to the instant stream of communication”) will forego the traditional email address and opt for the Facebook system.

The system will feature an exhaustive message memory: it will remember every ounce of communication, no matter how trivial (ok, see you later), and said information never be deleted. The idea is that Facebook messaging accounts will be the place where you can receive and send all forms of communication (the email to end all email, if you will). The system will organize contacts into appropriate lists and appear as Facebook messages currently do, along with photo and name.

While some call it the “Gmail killer” (or Hotmail or Yahoo), it remains to be seen whether this system will be as useful as it claims…and if people will abandon other systems. Staggering success in one niche doesn’t necessarily translate to staggering success with other tools. Just ask Google, which all but owns search, but has stumbled with offerings such as Google Buzz.

And, it must be said, there’s a darker side to all of this (as those of you with a flair for conspiracy theories, Big Brother, and One World domination may already be feeling). PC World, in a recent article, doesn’t mince words in an article titled Facebook Messages: The Worst Thing That Ever Happened.

Already Facebook has experienced backlash for security and privacy issues, but if the past is any predictor of the present, this system will have serious implications for the powerhouses of the web and how we communicate—issues or not.

Business (and personal) implication:

  • As Facebook knows more and more confidential information about you, remember to adjust privacy settings to protect yourself. Be smart and make sure you have security settings established at your desired level.
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