Top 3 Facebook Message Subject Lines: None, Hi!, and Yo


You've heard by now that Facebook will have a new messaging service that combines your email, text messages, and Facebook communications. The joke on Twitter is that Facebook just launched Google Wave, the ill-fated "better than email" experiment Google recently killed off.

As for me, I'll admit it: I don't get it. The stated purpose is to make sending messages to people easier, but their solution seems more, not less, complicated to me.

That said, I'm trying to hold off on forming opinion for two reasons. First, I want to test drive the system before dismissing it. Gmail Priority Inbox was a serious improvement to my email workflow and I don't think I could have anticipated that just from a description of how it worked. Second, I don't think that this service is designed with me in mind. I think it was built for the way college-age and younger kids use Facebook.

A few years ago, I remember a Facebook engineer explaining to me how crazily popular wall posting was for high schoolers. Based on how rarely my post-college friends used that part of the site, I could hardly believe it. But he was right, and something similar may be going on in messaging.

One stunning fact came out of Facebook's data crunching about the four billion messages that people send each day through the service. The top three subjects were, in order: none, Hi!, and Yo. I'm just guessing here but that says to me that many of Facebook's heaviest messagers are young to very young. Perhaps this messaging update is supposed to solve their problems, which are difficult to imagine.