Yesterday, Facebook announced their own "modern messaging system" that combines email, text messaging, and instant messages into a single stream that founder Mark Zuckerberg says goes well "beyond email". The new service, which will debut Monday with an iPhone app and roll out over the next few months, mimics the behavior of teens who are already abandoning conventional email to converse across multiple platforms in short bursts. But Facebook Messaging could also make social music marketing more difficult. Here's why:
Messages May Be Filtered Out - While a Facebook.com email address is offered, it's not required. Whatever the source of email, Facebook promises to use "Friends", "Likes" and other clues to filter email. So a fan who signed up for a band's email updates, could find their emails automatically shuttled into an "other" folder if they have not also friended the artist on Facebook.
Facebook says that their system will get smarter over time, so that people that aren’t friends on Facebook but communicate often will show up in the stream. How repeated one way communications like email newsletters will be filtered or allowed to pass into the users main stream is unclear
Too Much Of The Same - A major selling point of the Facebook's system is that it unifies email, SMS, IM and Facebook messaging into a single stream somewhat like Google's failed Wave. But that means that artist and marketers who automatically post the same updates to multiple channels risk overloading users of Facebook Messaging.
Is There A Solution? - It's important not to judge a system that no one has used, and its likely that some of Facebook's new features will actually enhance the artist/fan relationship. But a first look at Facebook Messages should encourage artists and music marketers to step up their friending efforts now to avoid flitering later and to closely monitor future developments.