As you might know, Facebook will be expanding the messaging features for its users to support an email alias for users. It made all the news from mainstream media down on through social media and pretty much pegged the whole front page of Mashable when it launched.
What do I think of it? I have three views on this; I seldom split my views this way, but this is how I feel.
As a user: Anything new, buzz-worthy and shiny gets my attention. I’m interested how this feature will work once we all start accessing it. I’m looking forward to the prospect that I can have a truly intimate email and not have it filled with spam and ham. I might use it, but I’ll see if it becomes a mainstream feature before I depend on it.
As a marketer: Oh great, now another barrier to a person’s attention. I can hardly get their attention with these great pieces of content – and really, they are – and now Facebook is going to make it even harder for me.
As a Facebook advocate: I can definitely see how getting users using your app, sticking to it more and depending on it like email will make it even more valuable. Eyeballs, baby. Let’s hope they don’t get any blinder to your ads, and this will be a good move.
I can go into more details on these, but I won’t bother. I think you get the idea.
Either way, I think it’s a good move that strengthens the value of Facebook and give users a feature some have been waiting for.
I recently read an article that Facebook Messaging would be a good CRM opportunity. Sigh. We’re not getting it. People don’t want to get messages from companies when they don’t expect it. The element of surprise doesn’t exist for businesses. The only, only way I would ever get behind such an idea is to only permit one transactional message sent to a user who has taken a “qualified” action. No more. The line has been drawn.
I don’t want marketers to get permission to email users. They blew it before, they’ll blow it again and they simply can’t be trusted. (Have you seen your “Updates” tab on your Facebook? Motherf…) Doing permission-based email is definitely an asset that Facebook isn’t afraid to get to market. Permission to contact someone is earned, not expected.