When my father bought our first family computer I was 10 years old, one of the first things that I did — after playing a thousand games of Minesweeper and testing my artist prowess with Microsoft Paint — was create an e-mail account.
Considering I didn’t have AOL as Internet, I went with Yahoo and from that point in my life I have been obsessed with e-mail. After about two weeks, I figured I outgrew my ‘Wildstyle369’ e-mail address and have experimented with Hotmail, AIM, Lycos and even a Russian e-mail provider, until — after scrambling for an invite — I settled on Gmail six years ago. But with Facebook’s announcement of what they have pegged as a “modern messaging system,” there’s now another option in the mix.
The premise behind Facebook’s new venture is that people should be free to share conversations in whatever medium they feel comfortable and most convenient. It’s like if for lunch I want Buffalo wing sauce and my friend Collin opts for Asian sesame on his chicken sandwich, we should still be able to relate — or on Facebook, communicate — because we both are handling the same thing.
This new focus on stimulating conversation isn’t necessarily conducive to e-mail, but while Facebook slowly rolls out the new system — which they said is not e-mail — it’s hard to overlook the fact that the company is also giving all users their own personal
What makes this service new to the community is that, in addition to e-mail integration, it blends together text messaging, instant messaging and Facebook messaging. If I want to send my mother an e-mail — the best and quickest way to reach her — about my lack of money because of my regular indulgences on Campusfood.com, she will be able to respond through text messaging — the most immediate way to reach me.
I’ve always been someone who appreciates having all my communication resources in one unified location, which might explain why I appear surgically attached to my iPhone. It would seem as though Facebook has hit the digital nail on the head in terms of executing that.
Another key element of Facebook’s new offering is its social inbox — Gmail’s Priority Inbox on steroids. At its core, social inbox is a way for Facebook to filter out unwanted conversations based on your friend list, to determine the most meaningful and relevant threads of dialogue.
Facebook is currently the go-to place online for connecting with friends and family, and a face-lift for their messaging service appears to make it a hot topic of conversation around the web.
Andrew Weiser is a senior journalism major. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.