Facebook Messages: yes, this is an email killer

Facebook launched its new Messages feature today: social inbox, filtering by friends, eternal history, messages over medium (i.e., from all sources), and DEFINITELY NOT AN EMAIL KILLER.

Well, at least according to Mark Zuckerberg. However, the new Facebook messaging model definitely IS an email killer – just maybe not for 30-something fuddie-duddies. For our kids, the old Facebook messaging system had ALREADY killed email. And now, Facebook is positioning Messages as an overall messaging platform that will handle all of your messaging (eventually) in a single system.

But here’s why Facebook is positioning Messages as a non “email killer:”

  1. Email will stick
    Email will be around until the end of time, so why give an opportunity for people to point, laugh, and say that Facebook was wrong when claiming email’s dead?

  2. Email is too low a target
    Email doesn’t do half of what Messages can/will do. Messages is a bigger, more advanced idea. Maybe not better … we’ll see. But much, much bigger.

  3. Adoption will be uneven
    As always, some will adopt and some will not. There is no one perfect system for everyone. And, especially for older people … they’re not the early adopters that some of us are.

But make no mistake. Google Wave was a flyer that fell. Messages is better-baked because of it. And Messages, or something like it, will replace what we now call email.

It’ll just take some time.


Here’s a great overview of Messages and why it’s an ambitious, interesting, and almost certainly successful project.