Today Facebook announced the launch of Facebook Messages that combines texts, instant messaging, and email for a more “social inbox.” This new feature has people questioning the end of other email providers like Gmail, but Facebook insists this is NOT an email replacement. Rather it’s an easier way to maintain different conversations and to focus on friends through online communication. As Mark Zuckerberg said, “because we know who your friends are, we can do some really good filtering for you to make sure you only see messages you care about.”
Another reason for the birth of Facebook Messages is that teens are more likely to text or instant message, and the new feature provides a consolidated way to do so while also being online. According to a Washington Post article, 54% of teens text daily – while only 11% use email every day. This feature will not only allow teens to maintain all forms of communication more easily; it will also provide a way for them to put even more personal information online.
It will take some time to see how people use Facebook Messages, and if it really does provide an easier way to communicate online. As parents, we have to understand how this creates a whole new forum to put information out there. Whether your kids use Facebook Messages or not, it’s important to use parental controls if necessary, and to keep them informed about the dangers of oversharing and communicating online with people they don’t know.
How do you feel about Facebook Messages? How do you feel about your kids using this service?