in Email, FaceBook

Why do people who have my email address message me via FaceBook?

Call me a FaceBook curmudgeon, but I’ve never really been too crazy about it. It seems to be just another thing on the web to occupy your time. The only good thing, I’ve found, with FaceBook is that it has allowed me to connect with some *very* old friends, who discovered my page there (tho I think just googling my name may have been easier…) Someone I was talking to the other day also (to whom I was doing some venting) reminded me that FaceBook can be great for creating virtual communities, which certainly is the case. One reason FaceBook is great for that is because many of the people you’d want to have join your community already are signed up, so they don’t have to register for yet another web app. But that will only remain true as long as FaceBook is remains the in-vogue app.

But getting to my main point, I think my biggest pet peeve with FaceBook is when people who have my email address message me via FaceBook. Why oh why do you do this? It just seems like all it does is create an additional obstacle in the communication process, since I get the message that you messaged me in my email inbox anyway. Maybe I’m just not a sufficiently enlightened FaceBook user to understand why this roundabout way of communicating is a good thing. Is it just a way of saying “Hey, I use FaceBook, I’m cool” or is there some actual functional or feature benefit to doing this?

  1. Interesting points – good to get a different perspective – thanks for your thoughts!

  2. As an IA I’ve wondered about this myself – but as a regular Facebook user I’m afraid that it does make perfect sense. It’s just *easy*.

    As a message sender there’s no wondering what email address is right for someone, no geeky bouncebacks or non-delivers, no finding peculiar at- or underscore-signs on your keyboard, no plethora of addresses associated to a variety of slightly different ‘friendly’ names for the same person. You just type your friends name, it appears with their photo, and then you write a message. And it’s guaranteed to get through to them.

    There’s also the security angle, that facebook messages can’t be forwarded-on, BCC’d or copied in to other people on reply. So your message is relatively safe.

    As simple and effective as email is, there are some issues with the hotmail/gmail/yahoo! mail using public’s user experience, and Facebook have plugged that gap to a certain extent.

  3. From the practical point of view, many people use bad webmail systems without decent support for contacts. Facebook makes it easier for them to send the message without remembering and typing the email address.

    What is more, most people have not configured the photos of people to their mail clients whereas Facebook ads them automatically, providing a more personal experience.

    Myself, I try to stick with Mail and am happy that Facebook nowaday includes the original message in its notification emails.

    (BTW, I happened to land on your page while googling for an image of an iPod remote.)

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