Facebook is in the news again, with its new messaging service – here’s the report from the BBC site. There is just so much I disagree with in the comments and attitudes reported there that I don’t know where to begin. Here are just a few details from the article:
Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook co-founder): “Maybe we can help push the way people do messaging more towards this simple, real-time, immediate personal experience.”
Leaving aside the fact he sounds as if he wants to push people into doing things his way, the phrase “simple, real-time, immediate personal experience” catches my eye. To me, that sounds like a description of conversation. I have a phone for that. And when I have time, I try and actually meet up with the people I want to have a “personal experience” with.
The new system will be modelled more on chat than traditional e-mail which means there will be no subject lines, cc or bcc fields.
If this means there will be even more likelihood of me being included in indiscriminate all-inclusive mailshots, it’s not something I’m at all happy about.
Incoming message will be placed in one of three folders – one for friends, another for things like bank statements and a junk folder for messages people do not want to see.
At the moment my email inbox is divided up into at least 60 folders. Every project is kept separate, my family are grouped together, my friends are split into groups etc.
This is one thing I hate about FaceBook, and one reason I’ve not taken it beyond the stage of simply signing up for an account: I open the page and everybody is all muddled up together. I want to be able to keep different areas of my life separate, and I want to be able to decide on my own filing and filtering system, not make do with what’s provided by a system that doesn’t understand the way my mind works.
Charlene Li (social media analyst): “Friends are the new priority as opposed to the conversation.”
Well that’s probably the nub of the question. I spend most of my day on the computer and I’m not dealing with friends most of that time. My main priority is definitely what I write, whether it’s a text that I’m translating, an original article, a business email, or even a personal email. It’s the words and the message that matter. Of course the reader is important, too, which is exactly why I need to keep my communications categorised.
I suppose there’s an argument that says that with so many people being long-term unemployed there needs to be a focus on the social aspects of communication. But I suspect that vast numbers of the unemployed are unsuited for work because they couldn’t muster a businesslike attitude if their fortunes depended on it. Insisting that “friends are the priority” probably won’t improve their potential employability nor their efficiency if they do get jobs.