A lot of people are asking, “What is Facebook Email?” With apologies to Gilbert and Sullivan, the talk in the social media sphere this week is whether Facebook’s take on email is indeed the very model of “a modern messaging system.”
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Monday what he thinks is the next generation of messaging – Facebook Messages, which gets a slow rollout over the next few months. Its key features, according to Zuckerberg: seamless integration with existing email, SMS and other messaging services; storage of conversation histories that can theoretically track a courtship from first date to “can you pick up the kids?” and “social inboxes” that help users prioritize must-see messages over spam.
Zuckerberg says 350 million of its members are actively using Facebook messaging, and about 4 billion messages are sent each day, mostly involving person-to-person communications. And despite the media runup to Monday’s press conference, Facebook’s new take on messaging “is not a Gmail killer,” Zuckerberg said; it’s designed to work alongside existing products. But he did add that “we don’t think a modern messaging system is going to be email.”
Businesses, many of which rely on Gmail, may be wondering about the impact of Monday’s announcements. Because Facebook is becoming the mother of all recommendation engines, is there any message for businesses here?
“Facebook is excellent at connecting individuals to individuals to share content, but their primary focus is not businesses,” said senior social media specialist Nichole Luna. “We expect the new Facebook email to affect the experience of Facebook message users only. Right now, it has little to no ramifications for business that operate a Facebook Fan page.”
Stay tuned; we’ll be hunting down any marketplace pickup of Facebook’s messaging moves and pass those along to you. And you won’t have to have an email address to read them.
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I'm surprised to hear that Splash Media doesn't think Facebook Messages will have an impact on businesses. For one thing, with such a large user base, Facebook currently delivers one of the primary platforms for businesses to meet their targets online. As such, any change in the targets' messaging behavior will certainly have an impact on businesses. And earlier this year, Facebook announced that business pages comprised half of all new pages. This suggests that businesses expect to meet their targets online, too. Anecdotally, we've seen a large increase in the number of customers leaving email altogether and moving to Facebook messaging exclusively or nearly so. As Marketers, we are going to have to find ways to manage this interesting mashup of social media and messaging for our clients.
Great comment! When you've been working with social media as long as we have, you know that ideas that come of out of Facebook are often very cool but have no continuing effort behind them. Meaning that no one is talking about the groups revamp anymore or the big Places push. Yes, Facebook is amazing and we're their biggest fans for sure, but features usually fizzle out quickly after they are launched. Happy to be wrong about this however! Let's talk about it again in a month. :) - Nichole Luna Senior Social Media Specialist @NNLuna