Monday’s launch of Facebook Messages, introduces the world to “a modern messaging system,” that promises to transcend SMS, email and other messaging services to make communicating easier. Nearly 350 million people currently use messaging on Facebook (about Four billion messages a day). The idea behind Facebook Messages was to retain that simplicity. “We tried to make it simple so people don’t have to think about this stuff,” said Mark Zuckerberg.
But there is stuff that I can’t help but think about, like there’s really no way to fully erase messages. You can archive messaging threads, which merely hides them and you can technically delete entire threads. But the deleted messaging string is then deleted in the other person’s account as well. This makes me think about that odd message that reminds me that the other person will “miss” the message I am deleting. And of course I then have to think about the question, “Is anything ever really deleted?”
Then that makes me think about that fact that all my messages will be organized around people and there are no subject lines. This feature will mean that all my conversations with any one friend will be lumped into one mega thread of IM, Text, email poo.
And what about communicating with non-Facebook pals? (If there are any still out there?) Does this mean they will get one of those recruitment notices requiring them to sign-up in order to get my thoughtful message?
Then I think about the war that is being waged to control my information and the projects butch development name (Titan) and all the hype positioning Messages as the Gmail killer.
Then I think about how hard it is not to look at Messages as anything other than another way to coerce people into joining Facebook.