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Five Things You Need to Know About the New Facebook Messages

We’re sure you haven’t been standing on the sidelines waiting for this announcement, but it will inevitably impact the way you and your friends use social networking. Since a million bajillion users have already signed on to Facebook for their daily dose of social addiction, it makes sense that they’d want to start using the site for their email correspondences, too. Let’s take a look at Facebook message features and see how (and if!) they’ll change the way we chat with our friends and family.

Real Time Correspondence

Now, all the methods of contacting your Facebook friends have been lumped together. When you message your friends, you can decide whether or not you should have a friendly chat, email or message them. So many options, so very little free time at work to decide.

Chat and messages will be weaved together into one big thread. When you open a conversation with a friend, you’ll also be able to see the past chats you’ve had with her. If you send a friend who is offline a chat message, it’ll be logged in your Message for you to refer to later.

You’ll also finally be able to have large group chats in real time, so if one friend is away but your other friend is available through chat, the friend who is idle will receive the conversation you had with the other friend about Friday night’s plans. When you’re finished, you can forward the conversations to the rest of your brood, and the weekend will have been saved!

Smart and Selective Filtering

The tiered mailbox system will allow you to focus on only the most recent and important conversations of the moment. Messages with subject lines like “I need all of your phone numbers” and “HOT DANCE PARTY AT DA CLUB” will remain at the bottom, while the more important threads will stay floating. You’ll also be able to block people, though we’re not yet sure if you’ll be able to do so for people you haven’t added on Facebook.

In addition, there will also be the option to do selective delivery, which means you’ll only receive messages that follow under your own privacy settings. So, if you’re okay with corresponding with “Friends of Friends”, then they’ll be able to invite you to their awesome keggers–or whatever it is you kids do on the Facebooks these days. Email

Your Facebook email address will correspond with the profile username you chose way back when. The service should prove easier to use for those who rely on the site as their main form of communication, and it’ll work with traditional email systems–that is to say, you’ll be able to use Gmail, Yahoo and Hotmail in conjunction. But of course, any message you send from your Facebook email address will look and feel like the standard Facebook layout.

Perhaps the biggest kicker about Facebook email is the fact that subject lines have been–wait for it–removed entirely. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, now instead of seeing “Hey” and “What’s Up?” and “Dude” as subject lines, you’ll just see the beginning of the conversation. Facebook claims in its FAQ that this will make sending and receiving message an easier feat, but frankly, we’re just afraid our emails will end up with an identiy crisis.

If someone does send you a message with a subject line from an ever-so-antiqued email system, it’ll appear in bold font. And if the whole idea of subject-less emails really grinds your gears, you can always turn off Facebook email from the privacy settings. 

Constant Threads

Look, the last thing I want to be reminded about is that awful conversation I had a week ago, and it’s really inconvenient that Facebook didn’t even include the option to delete individual messages from a long thread. But, I can see how this is going to be helpful for friends who don’t speak too often, or who have very detail oriented conversations that involve phone numbers, addresses and the like. Just, uh, reserve the drama for text messaging.

The “Other” Folder

The “Other” subfolder will ensure that messages from mailing lists and distribution groups won’t infiltrate your inbox. Whether this will be as powerful as Gmail’s spam filter is another question entirely, but at least you can still opt out of receiving annoying messages from various Facebook apps and people you don’t know.

The new Facebook Messages isn’t yet available, so you’ll have to request an invitation from Facebook.


Follow this article’s author, Florence Ion, on Twitter.


Everything You Need to Know About the New Facebook Features

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his team of developers have just announced several more new features for the massive social networking site, but maybe you’re like us and had a problem deciphering anything from the constant blurping during Facebook’s live streaming presentation. Either way, it’s always good to go back and do a bit of a recap, and that’s why we’re here. Because whether you’re on a PC or a Mac, there’s probably someone in the room with trolling through Facebook profiles right this second.

So, what’s this about a new Groups redesign?

Now, you can separate your friends into finely organized categories, or “Groups”, as Facebook likes to call them. While this may hurt the feelings of junior high girls everywhere, it’s great for those who use Facebook as a means of interacting with their friends, their colleagues, their business associates, their gym buddies and their family, but want to be more selection about the kind of information they share with each group.

While Facebook Groups did exist before today’s big announcement, this is still a major update for the previously under-utilized feature. The new Groups will have selective information sharing just like many of Facebook’s other features, so, for example, your business associates don’t have to have access to your Mobile number. Facebook Groups will also come with the following features:

Group chat: You can now chat with multiple members of a group in Facebook chat, as well as selectively show certain groups if you’re online.

Shared notepad: For kids and business folks that often collaborate on assignments, Facebook has revived Google’s idea for the “wave” and created their own version of the shared notepad. Users can now collectively write and edit notes within a group.

Mailing list-style notifications: You know how Facebook sends you email after email of updates that someone has replied to a thread you left a comment on three weeks ago? Now, you can do this for the groups you’re in. Facebook has added a new way for users to subscribe to certain posts so that they’ll receive emails and notifications when someone else replies.

Unfortunately, you cannot currently convert one of your existing groups into this new design, which we find to be very odd. If you don’t see any new changes to your Facebook page just yet, that’s because Facebook is slowly rolling out these changes and it’ll hit, one-by-one, just like the new Twitter UI update…that yours truly still hasn’t seen the light of day yet.

What else does Facebook have in store for me?

As aforementioned, we’ve seen none of this yet, and Facebook’s employees will be working in overdrive to get this content out to you–the social networking addict–as soon as possible. A couple of other features that they have in store for us include:

The ability to completely download all of your profile information: Basically, expect a whole new open, portable Facebook that you can print out and stuff in your purse or laptop bag. That’s right–a new “Download Your Information” feature will enable users to hit a download button and extract everything off of their profile, including messages, wall posts and photos, all into one nifty, compressed .zip file.

A new way to check on connected apps: If you use Facebook applications for things like Flickr, Yelp, and Digg, you can now check and see how many sites and applications have access to your personal data through Facebook and Facebook Connect. It’s a wonderful way for users to impulsively connect with their favorite websites, but still have an idea about what these sites are actually doing with their information.

An entirely new site redesign–again: Yeah, it’s happening–again–and we’re all just going to have to deal with it one way, or another. We know that chat is going to the the left side of the screen, and that the entire site is going to look a little more like its Places page.

You might be freaking out at all of this change, but trust us, this is a good thing for you diehard Facebook users. The gigantic social networking platform is growing by the minute, and the new changes means that it’s morphing itself to fit with its user’s needs. Now all we have to do is wait for the update to finally hit and ignore the Negative Nancy Facebook status updates that will undoubtedly follow.


Follow this artlcle’s author, Florence Ion, on Twitter.