If it looks like email, feels like email and works like email, it’s email. Sorry, but whatever Mark Zuckerberg calls it, the new @facebook.com service announced today is a form of email, even if it integrates instant messaging, texting and so forth. Having seen the screenshots of what this service is going to look like, it seems to me that it’s just a slightly fancier (if that) version of what Google has right now with GMail. GMail is currently has chat, instant messaging, voice and more. This is nothing new and nothing to be too excited about. Even separate inboxes aren’t new. According to the announcement, messages can be separated into friends, general email and junk. Yahoo, Hotmail and Google have allowed for separate labels and folders for a long time. I recall setting different folders for different types of email in the early 2000s. It really isn’t something to get too excited about, except maybe because every conversation with a single individual, regardless of platform, is kept on one ongoing thread.
We all know that certain email addresses look more “professional” than others. As university students, we were advised by career counsellors not to have handles like sparkligrrl or carloverdude. Since Facebook is primarily used for socializing outside of work, would it even be appropriate to use the address for anything other than with friends? Right now, people can use webmail addresses on their resume. I’m not too sure if all companies will look at @facebook.com accounts as “serious” unless they are a social media company or at least social media savvy or aware. They may see the use of such an account as nothing more than a bit better than those cutesy screenhandles that you were advised against using in as an undergraduate. And that’s only if your Facebook URL is serious-looking and contains your name. Of course, anyone who HAS a @facebook.com email address probably has another email account as well. After all, one needs to have one to even sign up for the social media site.
This isn’t to say that I don’t think one should get this new service. If you do, you should keep another email address (be it a webmail service or an address from your provider) for your more “serious” things. It’s also not something that one should get all that excited about. We’ve seen things like this before. Nothing new.