Thursday, January 29, 2009

My Facebook Inbox

Looking over my shoulder, Maya glances at the number of unread messages in my Facebook Inbox. "How do you have so many?" she asks. "Those aren't real messages from people." I say. And they aren't. As far as I am concerned, FB Inbox is not a real inbox.

I have two real inboxes: my personal gmail box ( is Gmail) and my work mailbox which sits somewhere on the servers in my office where people named Alex can find it.

FB as it is designed now can never be a real mailbox for the following reasons:
  • No forwarding of messages.
  • No filing, tagging or archiving of messages.
  • No searching messages or senders.
  • No saving, backup or export of messages.
As far as I am concerned, the bottom line of this is that my messages in FB belong to FB, not to me. I'm pretty sure FB feels the same, considering the lighthanded way they can choose to simply discontinue their service at any time and you have no way to protect yourself by using an export or backup function. You can't even export your contacts.

I know some people use FB for real and even business/professional messages. I don't get it, but it's their funeral. I use my FB mailbox as a toy. My Inbox has invitations to events, messages from groups and fan pages, etc. Every now and again a friend writes me on my FB inbox, and I almost always answer them using my gmail account, so I have a gmail record and they will start using real mail to speak to me.

The main advantage of FB is you can send mail to anyone, even people you don't know. The main disadvantage of FB is anyone, even people you don't know, can send mail to you. I have found numerous business contacts through FB, and I have not sent them business email through that methodology. Either I come up with their business email legitimately (pretty easy to do, actually), or I don't write. As far as I am concerned, people are on FB for fun, and the last thing they want is to have people accosting them at the playground to do business. My FB inbox is just a playground. If you want to be serious with me, find me somewhere else.

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