Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Dear Facebook, Please Let Me Reply to Your Message Notifications

Do you know this problem? Someone sends you a Facebook message. You want to reply, but instead of being able to just hit reply on the message, you have to perform a multi-step choreographed dance:
  1. Click on the link in the email
  2. Log into Facebook
  3. Navigate Facebook's messaging interface to reply
  4. Repeat this procedure when new messages roll in

This is hugely annoying. Instead of sending emails with a nonsensical address such as notification+pd=edfz@facebookmail.com and a Reply-To of noreply@facebookmail.com, can't Facebook just implement an email-reply-to-Facebook-message bridge? This is pretty simple to do - many Support systems (e.g. Kayako) already do this.

I've written (well, sketched) about Facebook vs. email before. When I have some time, I need to sit down and write my rant about how closed (Facebook, Twitter, Skype) and proprietary (Google Wave) systems are replacing email when they shouldn't. I think the underlying reason is that email's systems and protocols (SMTP, IMAP, MIME/RFC822, MS Exchange) are so hugely sucky, outdated, insecure, spammy, bug-prone, and stupidly designed. We need to engineer ourselves out of this mess.

Update: Wow, this post was just in time for Facebook's Message API, which makes the whole problem worse, not better: From the TC article: "The biggest addition — the Mailbox API — is also disappointing because it only lets users receive messages, not send them."


Cathleen Rittereiser said...

I am so with you. I organized tweet up a few weeks ago and had to communicate with 3 other people on 3 separate systems. Ugh

p├Ąde said...

please join http://facebook.com/group.php?gid=65260935900
I normally just hit the "reply" button when I get the email and change the "To" to the actual address - much quicker.

Mason said...

that dance bugs me too, but facebook is making money off ads on their site, right? so the dance is good for them, bad for us.

Gabor said...

I can't imagine them making much money from their "Inbox" functionality.