[LINK] Commonalities between Facebook and email

Robin Whittle rw at firstpr.com.au
Mon Feb 21 15:53:59 AEDT 2011

Hi Fernando,

In the thread "Re: [LINK] Maintaining the link list - Facebook page?"
you wrote:

>> The people growing up now (...) probably don't have the same focus
>> on email as a central tool that I and some other Link people
>> have.  It seems that Facebook has now taken on this role.
> With all due respect, I disagree strongly.
> E-mail is not going away anytime soon. It´s like saying that because
> more people SMS than e-mail, then we should use SMS.
> Different tools, for different uses.
> For starters, it´s a prerequisite to have an e-mail account to
> _register_ and receive notifications on  Farcebook, so everyone who
> has Facebook has an e-mail account.
> On the contrary, not everyone with an e-mail account has a
> Farcebook one.

I didn't mean to imply that email was going to fade from importance.
Just that I think the way I and others use the email system as a way
of handling multiple types of communication within a single form of
computer use which we do multiple times a day, is in some ways also
being achieved by Facebook users.

For instance I use email for various personal and business
communications, for mailing list discussions, for finding out about
activity in Mozilla Bugzilla bugs.  I also use it for notes to myself,
since I know I will maintain the email archive in a searchable place,
and if I have some information I will probably need in the future, but
can't think of a good place to put, I write a "Note to self".  I also
use it to get password reminders or reset messages for the plethora of
web pages which require user registration.  I can now use it to get an
8 bit WAV file of any voicemail which is left on my Internode Nodeline
phone number!  This is arguably better than relying on an answering
machine if I am travelling, and using email via the Squirrel Mail
server I run on my home-office server.  Email also provides me with
reminders of domains which need to be re-registered, of messages which
have been added to some web-forums I posted to.  It is the central way
most websites have of proving the identity of a person who returns to
the site but can't remember their password or any username.

I understand that Facebook uses add a single item to their status page
(I think that is its name) and their "Facebook friends" (let's not
conflate the term "friend" with "Facebook friend"!) automatically see
its title, some text and I think an image.  They can also send
messages within Facebook which are similar to email, as well as do
real-time chat (instant messenger).  I don't know what sort of
searchable records the system keeps by which a user could look back at
their actions to find something of interest.  My point is that a
single website performs multiple communications and multiple types of
communications - and that quite a few people use it on a daily or more
frequent basis.

Since we have to actively open an email client application, or a
web-page which does the same thing, or open a Facebook page, with
username and password, I was just observing that there are some common
elements here.

That said, I think there are probably quite a few interpersonal 1:1
and 1:many communications which would work perfectly well on email,
and would probably still be done with email, which I think are done
well or perhaps better on Facebook.  While I think Facebook
communications somewhat diminishes the need for email, I am not
suggesting that email is under any threat of disappearing.

  - Robin

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