Will Facebook’s next-generation in messaging revolutionise the way we communicate?

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Last week Facebook announced that it will roll out a new service that will wrap together email, SMS and instant messaging all from the one location – nice! Now everyone’s wondering whether the new technology, will revolutionise the way we communicate.

Mark Zuckerburg the Facebook founder naturally thinks so but he is also firm in maintaining that it’s not Facebook’s version of email – it’s a solution to the issues surrounding email and other current forms of communication. At a special event to launch the product held in San Francisco he said:

“We don’t think a modern messaging system is going to be email.”

He also emphasized that the new service is: “… not email.”

If you’re tired of communicating with the various people in your life using different mediums i.e. sms for Granny and some friends, then emailing some colleague and clients, then facebooking other clients, friends and family, this will bring your various communication channels together in the one convenient location.

The new service will involve Facebook handing out @facebook.com e-mail addresses to those who want one – mostly to make it easier to communicate with people who aren’t on Facebook.

Naturally, some experts are sceptical as to whether the system, code-named “Project Titan”, will take off among users and there is also the issue of putting even more eggs into Facebook’s basket security wise. But with over 500 million users globally, there’s no doubt that Facebook has an existing and captive audience.

Of course it is unlikely people are going to make a clean break i.e. close their Yahoo Mail or Gmail account to go all in on the new Facebook service. But I truly believe curiosity will get the better of most and if they play with it and find it easy, useful and time saving; over time they may gravitate towards Facebook more, and their traditional use of email will evolve into a new generation of communication.

This is welcome news to someone like me who has been ‘over’ email for the past two years (around the time Facebook came into play for me)! Personally I much prefer communicating dynamically with people via Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin and in the process checking out their profiles, associations and recent posts so I can pick up and where relevant, capitalise on conversations.

I also prefer communicating in ‘real time’ via live chat services like Skype, Google Chat and Facebook chat where an issue can easily be resolved with a quick answer. For example ‘where’s the accounts file?’ can be answered with an immediate and one line ‘in the black filing cabinet’. There’s certainly no need for email here yet people are now seriously in the habit of ‘dropping an email’ every time the moment takes them.

I even coach my staff, and where appropriate clients and other contacts, to communicate with me where ever possible using alternative means to email. It cuts straight to the chase and negates the need for formalities such as introducing yourself, addressing them correctly, superfluous lines such as ‘further to our recent discussions’ and the choice of sign off i.e ‘with warm regards’. And this is said by an ex journalist who can type as fast as she thinks, actually knows how to spell, and does have good manners. Even with the ability to communicate appropriately and at speed, email communication is just too labour intensive and slow for me.

I encourage you to start challenging yourself (and it will take discipline) to educate those around you to opt for different communication forms where possible to minimise the inbox clutter. And to check out the new Facebook service.

Currently the feature is available to those who get an invitation from the Facebook. To get an invitation visit this page and just click on “Request” button after logging in. You will receive an invitation to the new system.
Once you get the invitation the process is the same as any other Email service. Just accept the invitation and write your desired [email protected] and verify your SMS number.

For more info on the new service see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bdzuFG6q63k

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