Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Between Gmail, Twitter And Now Facebook, There Is No Universal Inbox, Yet.

“Over the next five yrs every product vertical will be rethought to be social. Get on the bus”
– Mark ZuckerbergWaking up and opening my laptop on Monday mornings has become a terrifying process. Between Gmail, Twitter, Yammer, Skype and Facebook it seems like hundreds of people known and unknown are trying to contact you at any given time. Information overload and fragmentation has gotten so bad that there was even a The episode spoofing the still outstanding need for a Universal Inbox (what they called WUPHF) for all your messages.
Prioritization of the deluge of information thrown at you is a huge problem, and one that currently only has imperfect solutions. Someset up an auto-reply declaring email bankruptcy, some do their best to train (when they can) their messaging system to prioritize and most of us just ignore everything but the most pressing stuff.On Monday,Facebook announced its foray into messaging and took a unique stance on one of the most pressing problems of our time by taking the solution social.
Facebook VP of Product Chris Cox describes the philosophy behind Facebook’s attempt to use their concept of social design, i.e. leveraging your social graph, to get you the messages that matter most, “People have collaboratively built a network of who matters to them. We are living in a world where people are actually online. You’re not scared when you’re on a website and you interact with the people you know mainly.”
Yes there are countless ways to communie online, but very few with built in restrictions. Adding Facebook’s hat toss to the pile, we’ve recently seen three novel attempts at dling with information overload, ch with advantages and disadvantages:

Gmail Priority Inbox
Gmail Priority Inbox is an example of a White List solution. While the Google Priority Inbox aorithm theoretically sorts your email into only things you want to see, in order for it to work users must twk a list of Like and Don’t Like rules, you have to train Priority Inbox to recognize what is “Important” and “Everything Else” for you personally.
The problem with this is there is no one ligible overarching filter, and the user ends up doing a lot of work. It takes me more time to flag my messages as “Unimportant” than it does to manually avoid junk mail so I get lazy about training which just lds to more junk mail.
Gmail’s grtest strength (openess) is also its downfall i.e. random emails from But, if your business depends on open communiion and receiving messages from people you don’t yet know, then it currently is the most flexible of your message filtering options as it still allows for spontaneity but doesn’t throw you entirely to the spam wolves.

Twitter DMs
Many people say that Twitter DMs have become their most efficient mode of messaging thus far due to their size restrictions and incorporation of the Twitter follow social graph into who has or doesn’t have access to you. In fact, as a messaging service it currently is my favorite one to use — I consider my Direct Messages my inbox and my @replies a form of everything else/junk mail.
But anyone who’s ever tried to DM someone who is not following them will point out that Twitter is not without its flaws. In terms of a communiion tool, Twitter fails in some ways because someone shouldn’t gave to subscribe to all your inane ramblings and mediocre Instagrams just so they can send you a private message. And at175 million users it still doesn’t necessarily cover a wide enough segment of the population that it can be used by itself.

Facebook Messages
Facebook announced three new elements in their messaging system revamp on Monday:Smless Messaging, Interoperable Messaging and Social Inbox. As it is currently in slow roll out, most users won’t understand the ins and outs of the first two ftures (and maybe even the third) until the product rches critical mass (Imagine trying to explain the Facebook Newsfeed to someone who had not yet seen it).
While I don’t rlly care much for all my messages showing up in a thrd and the id receiving an email as a text sounds too much like WUPHF for my taste, I am psyched about Social Inbox’s potential.
Why? Well I almost never receive messages from humans, and that’s all I want to receive messages from, at lst when I’m on Facebook. Affirming this, Cox says that the social design strategy behind Social Inbox’s crtion it is an attempt to combine the aorithmic and White List filtering solutions with the knowledge inherent in your social graph, “It rlly is about the people.”
Social Inbox is split into three parts, Messages, Other and Junk. The two main parts Messages and Other are filtered by of whether people are Friends or Friends of Friends and everything else like pitches and newsletters. Think about it, you can give your email address to stuff like Groupon and only have to dl with those emails when you’re good and rdy, no aorithmic training involved.
Like Gmail, the social graph that gives Social Inbox value also limits it, but there is something amazing about receiving an email from a friend sent from outside Facebook that shows up front and center in Facebook Messages prioritized by the fact that they’re your friend. If anything this clns up the Facebook messaging system (Win). Now if only there was an sier way to cull your Friends list.

The revolution in social messaging will be specialized
None of the above options will necessarily kill ch other, just like the existence of Yoga doesn’t kill the existence of Pilates as a form of exercise. No matter what the Contacts wars ld us to believe, I won’t be trading in my Gmail for Facebook Messages anytime soon and I don’t think anyone expects me too. Besides, Mark Zuckerberg himself referred to Gmail Priority Inbox as “pretty cool.” Not exactly fighting words.
I’m pretty sure the350 million active Facebook Messages users (most without the revamp), 363 million Hotmail users, 303 million Yahoo Mail users, 175 million Twitter users and 171 million Gmail usersall have some overlap, ch using whatever service is most efficient in ch particular use case.
Right now I wouldn’t Facebook message a potential client just like I wouldn’t @reply a relative with the details of what we’re doing for Thanksgiving. But this, like anything else in the volatile rlm of human communiion, is subject to change.

Reference: Between Gmail, Twitter And Now Facebook, There Is No Universal Inbox,Yet.

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