Facebook’s “Other” Messages, And Why They Think They Know Better Than Email

Thursday, 14 June 2012

I was poking around on Facebook yesterday (and every other day) when I noticed my “other” inbox. I had received a private message from a friend, both on Facebook and in real life, which had gone to my normal Facebook inbox, as well as my email alert. But as I read I noticed this strange inbox labeled “other” right below the “normal” inbox where my friend’s message was. Curious, I clicked.

Months of old, unread messages from acquaintances, event organizers, group leaders and contest administrators lay neglected in that inbox. After a quick scan to determine nothing was too pressing, I stopped to wonder what “other” really meant. They’re not messages from pages, which requires me, the fan, to take action first. And yet, they seem to include brand messaging. On closer inspection it seemed that messages from events I had been invited to, contests I had entered and a few from people I had never met, all ended up here. But why?other messages inbox facebook

Awhile back, Facebook revamped private messages as part of their “social inbox.” Facebook’s idea is that your friends’ messages shouldn’t be left sitting next to spam. Unfortunately, their definition of spam is a lot looser than most email providers, catching many potentially interesting, if not important, messages in its net. And while my overlooked “other” inbox didn’t include messages from friends, it did have messages from events my friends had set up and groups I had opted into. Yet somehow, Facebook decided they weren’t important.

As a Facebook user, I’d advise you to login and take a peek at your “other” inbox. And it wouldn’t hurt to read up on Facebook’s messaging basics, too. As a brand? Be wary of sending Facebook messages through the event platform, and always ask for email addresses when a user enters a contest.

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