July 18 2007

Social Network Messaging An Email Killer?

Portions of the blogosphere are buzzing with the prospect of a move away from traditional email services, to a more enclosed messaging system like the one Facebook offers.

Jeremiah Owyang, a web strategist from the Bay Area, did a recent write-up on the possibility of Facebook messaging being an email replacement. He notes two other bloggers saying the same, and they all sing the praises of the beauty of Facebook being the next killer system of communication.

They are correct on the lack of spam, but that is about where their correctness ends.

It is quite possible that Facebook could replace the one-line emails we all receive from friends, but that is probably where it will end. The corporate world will never embrace such a system, and unless you can get big business behind a technology push, it never has more hope than becoming a niche product.

They all tout the fact it is a closed system, and while tha’s nice, it also has some severe drawbacks. Are you going to tell a potential client or employer, “Yes, you can reach me, but first you need to login to Facebook… oh, you don’t have an account? Okay, well first you need to create one, and then…”. No, this scenario will never happen.

Email, for all its follies and faults, is still going to be around for a long time to come just due to it’s prominence and ease of use. It is far to easy to tell someone to reach me at, then tell them they have to go login to a third party system that they don’t personally have any security control over.

Go, enjoy your Facebook messaging. Remember this though; it isn’t not the second coming, but instead, just another new toy you will grow bored with when the next shiny new thing comes along.

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