Facebook Taking Over E-Mail?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

In an article this week by founder and CEO of Mashable Pete Cashmore, he touches on the rumored upgrades to Facebook's messages feature.

Apparently Facebook is inviting the media to a special Monday event in which speculation is growing about Facebook unveiling its long rumored changes to its message inbox. This has not been confirmed by Facebook as being the topic of the event but it still has many people guessing.

Cashmore goes on in his article to explain his opinion on if these rumored changes were to be unveiled in the near future, how would they affect current e-mail providers?

Basically Cashmore does not feel they would completely overtake the e-mail industry and he provides some interesting insight as to why at his full column on CNN's website here.

Here is my take on this whole theory. As we all know social media has become huge in recent years and it is virtually consuming our everyday lives. I personally use Facebook and Twitter everyday, I admit that. Social media is everywhere and it seems like people can do anything with it.

So wouldn't it be logical to assume that Facebook could turn itself into not only a social media networking site but a top tier e-mail provider as well?

I really don't think that Facebook could overtake the top e-mail providers. Even though Facebook has over 500 million users, I think people would still tend to keep their accounts with Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail, and so on because those are sites strictly setup and geared for e-mail.

Facebook could potentially compete with an enhanced e-mail system due to convenience factors but in reality I do not see them shooting straight to the top of the list. If that were to happen then I think society would seriously have to take a step back and consider how much Facebook impacts their lives.

Granted we sure love our Facebook and the connection it provides for us to our friends and family, but I think there could be a point where there can be too much stuff on Facebook. E-mail should stay a separate entity in my opinion. Facebook is great for staying connected with people and hearing about breaking news but I think that is where the line should be drawn.

If there comes a day when Facebook controls everything in our lives, I may ship myself off to a deserted island. At least that way I wouldn't have to worry about whether I should make myself Facebook's slave or try to maintain some partisanship in my social media and Internet usage.

Photo courtesy of Jay Cameron, Flickr


Social-media and the law

Photo credit: Jonathon Pow/Rossparry.co.uk
An English man has unintentionally gotten himself in trouble with the law through the use of social-media.

According to an article by Sarah LyallPaul J. Chambers found himself frustrated by a snowstorm that grounded his flight to Northern Ireland to meet a woman he'd met online,

In his frustrated state, Chambers tweeted, "Robin Hood Airport is closed. You've got a week to get your [expletive] together, otherwise I'm blowing the airport sky high!!"

It was by mere coincidence that the tweet was even found.. An airport manager looking for Robin Hood Airport-related items saw the post a few days later and reported it.

This is an indication, not only of how public social-media can be, but also of the potential consequences a single comment can have on someone's life.

Chambers was not a household name or even a local celebrity, but because of the circumstances of his court case, he has acquired a following of supporters on Twitter.

The judged charged Chambers with "sending a "menacing message" over a public telecommunications network under the Communications Act of 2003."

His followers disagree with the charge and are arguing for free-speech by reposting the Twitter message or by writing tweets of a similar content.

This should serve as a reminder to journalists and anyone who uses social-media tools of the impact their writing can have on people and the potential danger it could bring upon them even unintentionally.

Chambers had no intention of starting a media debate, but his comment and the way the case was handled by the judge, brought attention to how the law adjusts slowly to the quickly changing social-media environment.

Many other people sent similar messages, but faced no damaging consequences. How should the law deal with potentially threatening statements while still upholding the first amendment to free speech?

This and many other questions are still being pondered in the case Chambers has brought to the surface. At this point, social-media users should exercise great caution on the Internet and always be aware of what they are saying.


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