Today saw the launch of Facebook Chat to the masses and it will be interesting to see what impact this will have on our daily lives and communication methods.
Everybody that I know now has a Facebook account. When I’m out in bars, guys no longer ask for your number (maybe it’s just me!) but instead they check whether you’re on Facebook. I have my suspicions that this is so that they can remind themselves of what you look like the next day, but that’s a whole different subject matter.
For me the introduction of Facebook Chat means a couple of things (positive and negative) :-
For a start it means that I won’t have to try and explain AIM to my friends and family any more. For some reason, the fact that Facebook have introduced it means that they will trust it, embrace it and be chatting like chatty chattersons in no time. I think it could become for instant messaging what the internet explorer icon still is as a browser for many people.
However, for myself, it also brings some issues. I have a number of work contacts as Facebook friends as well as just my old school friends and “weekend buddies”. Whilst I love the idea of being able to use Facebook Chat with my non-tech friends to cajole them into getting ready a little quicker on a Saturday night – I’m also opening myself up to chatting with lots of people that I don’t know that well and it can become a little overwhelming, not to mention time consuming.
In an ever increasingly busy world, Facebook (and Twitter) provide a low maintenance method of keeping in touch with the people in your lives – just glancing at status updates tells you what’s going on in their lives without having to spend time on the phone or writing emails (tip: mothers always appreciate calls home this said!). What I love about this is that you can choose when to get in touch – it’s not intrusive, or should I say – wasn’t intrusive.
Facebook Chat appears to be the complete opposite of everything that I loved about Facebook. Unless you specifically choose to appear offline, any of your contacts can start chatting with you whenever they feel like it. To quote Lisa “email used to be the productivity enemy number one!” but I can easily see Facebook Chat quickly overtaking. Michael Arrington soon discovered this when he went out for dinner having forgotten to log out of Facebook, only to return to a swarm of messages.
Feedback on the Twitterverse has been mixed, but many people, myself included, are planning to stay permanently offline. Could that mean the sound of tumbleweed for Facebook Chat? Only time will tell…