Ask Mark Zuckerberg and he’ll tell you, Facebook’s goal is to create the most accurate representation of our “social graph.” There’s only one problem with Facebook’s attempt so far though: all our interactions don’t take place within Facebook. We send instant messages to our friends, send at replies on Twitter, have telephone conversations and exchange emails. All of these things help construct the summation of our interpersonal communication.
When tracked, all of these messages help us to understand how we are individually connected with others and the strength of those bonds. While time spent with an individual may not be directly proportional to the strength of our bond, it is at least relatively proportional. Facebook would be fooling themselves if they believed that all of our communication will be boiled down to wall posts and inbox messages.
When speaking with one Facebook employee earlier this week I said that they are in an interesting position where for the first time in a while, adding an email service to their site would actually be beneficial to the users (this is in contrast to the first wave of websites where “adding an email service” was how startups intended to attract users). The employee hadn’t thought about it previously but agreed that a robust messaging service with filters based on the strength of our personal ties would be highly useful.
While having all of our communication with other individuals monitored by companies has massive privacy implications, the benefits gained from having a single place to aggregate our communication and automatically manage it would be extremely useful. The next step for Facebook is to build a more robust messaging system or email service that helps to further optimize our communication as well as our newsfeed. Do you think a Facebook email service would be useful?