So Facebook has revamped its messaging service…

Posted on November 16, 2010


The news was barely out and already the social media-sphere was a buzz with Mark Zuckerberg‘s announcement that Facebook‘s messaging service was getting a much needed revamp. Some commenters went with the usual “I don’t care” and “it won’t work” tirade because Google Wave did before and while that makes sense, because the service will be a unified communication solution, to throw the baby out with the bath water seems so premature right now.

SAN FRANCISCO - NOVEMBER 15:  Facebook founder...
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Yes, unified communication has seen a minor set back with the early closure of Google Wave but you have to remember that there were a few people out there who thought it was ahead of its time and not only that but Google Wave was meant as a collaboration tool for team projects. I took part in a computer mediated communication class with the underrated Susan Herring and we used Google Wave to make class notes on the readings. While I saw the affordances of this service it was stifled by that touch and go strategy of making people apply for invitations in order to get to use it. Now while this would’ve given Google Wave that exclusive element for users who are interested in that kind of tool, the bulk of the online community sat and twiddled their thumbs wondering, but not caring about what they were missing out on.

Facebook doesn’t seem as though it will suffer from those similar defaults simply because the platform itself has become ubiquitous with peoples’ day to day online interactions (come on, who doesn’t message their friends and family more than once a day via Facebook?) and it’s also more than a collaboration tool, it’s a synchronous messaging tool that is a direct contrast to email’s asynchronous nature. For those of you who aren’t quick with your digital dictionaries; synchronous communication takes place in real time whilst asynchronous communication happens between people at different times (so you can send a message and it will only be read later). Yes Facebook messaging does allow for traditional messaging and email (with attachments – thank the digital gods) but by integrating chat and SMS the service has become a real time conversation platform.

Now with anything new Facebook releases people have been decrying this tool: “Wah! Why unified communication? Google Wave did that already!” “Wah! I don’t need any more email accounts” or “Wah! Who wants a email address?!”

SERIOUSLY PEOPLE!! I think we should give up on this already. Facebook keeps churning them and its users keep finding ways to incorporate the new services into their everyday use of the social network. Yes this could mean one more email address for you, but anyone and everyone living in this digital age already has more than two if they don’t count their work email. Who wants a Facebook email? Uh, I’d say pretty much say anyone who wants to interact with their Facebook friends and wants to send them emails with attachments on (how many times has that happened to you? and don’t say never).

At the end of the day this is just another event in the evolution of social media and it may or may not be the game changer Mark Zuckerberg wants it to be. The technological trend these days is convergence and social media is not immune: whet

Image representing RockMelt as depicted in Cru...
Image via CrunchBase

her it is converging where we interact with our social media accounts (TweetDeck, Hootsuite and now RockMelt) or how within our social media accounts the various separate affordances converge into one tool (Facebook messages and chat) it’s the natural progression of things and we should be excited to see it happen. And the next time I see people crying like babies on feeds I’ll be poking them with a stick.

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