Home > Idiots, Small Things I Blow Out Of Proportion > Facebook’s Project Titan should shut up (and so should The Next Web)

Facebook’s Project Titan should shut up (and so should The Next Web)

There’s a lot of rumbling online about Facebook’s upcoming “Project Titan,” which involves turning their fairly abhorrent messaging system into a full-blown e-mail system, letting you use your Facebook account to access the outside world. Given the number of users that are on the crapdamn site, I’m sure that if only a fraction of them notice and start to use their lovely @facebook.com addresses, it’ll be considered a success by most standards.

Alex Wilhelm wrote a piece for The Next Web called “Facebook E-mail? No Thanks!” about this very topic, and while I’d like to agree with some of his points, he sounds too much like a goddamn douche for me to do so:

Let me say this as emphatically as possible: I do not want a Facebook email address. I refuse to even use Facebook messaging. Having email tied to Facebook would merely turn an already over-featured, bloated, and slow social networking Frankenstein of an experience into one that I actually depend on to get work done. God forbid.

Well aren’t you precious, Alex. Does anyone in particular care about your use of Facebook? Is it an issue for your friends, or the internet at large? People care about my use of Facebook, because I’m the kingmaker, but you’re just a blogger. Also, you seem to be confused about something: Facebook making their messaging a full e-mail service doesn’t mean you have to use it, you baconhead. Seriously. Do you think Google’s going to panic at the awesome site of PROJECT TITAN and shut down? Get a grip.

Facebook has a specific purpose: social networking. Email is not designed for that. Some people use it for that, and we came up with a name for them sometime ago: spammers. Real question for everyone with a job, how many times a day do you check your email compared to your Facebook? Second question, how much overlap is there between the two actions?

Apparently Alex doesn’t realize that E-mail actually does enable communication between people. You could use your e-mail account to meet someone or to solidify a social connection with them. Now, I may be a doddering old man — I certainly am — but that sounds an awful lot like networking to me. Also, spammers are social networkers? Redenbacher, please! It sounds a lot like someone writing about “The Next Web” doesn’t understand the current one.

Here Alex makes the fanboy mistake of assuming that his behaviour is everybody’s behaviour. Oh, I don’t do this so obviously all seven billion humans don’t do it, either! Waa waa waa. Hey, Alex, most of the seven billion people on the planet don’t regularly shut up, but that doesn’t mean you can’t give it a try once in a while.

Millions of people check their Facebook accounts more than their e-mail, because there a lot of people who don’t find e-mail that interesting; they just don’t use it that much. You know who a lot of those people are, Alex? Not you.

By combining the two, and giving you a childish @Facebook.com, Facebook will tie you even tighter to the Facebook totem, leaving you even more at their mercy. I’m out.

Oh noes! Alex implies that a facebook.com e-mail address would be childish, as opposed to a gmail.com address, hotmail.com address, or thenextweb.com. Why would it be childish, you snooty little bastard? Because it’s too popular? More people use hotmail.com than any other web service, which means that most people don’t have a stigma about silly sounding e-mail services. For most people (the non-bloggers-with-their-head-so-far-up-their-asses-their-pomade-is-made-of-recycled-corn) the domain is just a fact of life they give little consideration to. Most people have better thing to do with their time than thumb their noses at people for a perceived lack of sophistication.

And as far as “leaving you even more at their mercy” goes, Alex, do you think that you’re not at Google’s mercy when you use gmail? Do you personally own your own mail server? If not, if you’re not operating on some sort of splinter internet owned and maintained entirely by you, 100% under your complete autonomous control, then shut up. You’re locked into some system, and implying you aren’t is stupid.

If Facebook does this, will it change the landscape of webmail? Of course it will. What Facebook probably will not do is follow an open route, despite Arrington’s notes to the contrary. Instead it is probably more likely to do what MySpace did, and break their webmail client by not offering IMAP or POP support. What advantage would it give them to make it open? Why not draw the wagons into an even tighter circle around their users?

Yes, we should imagine a closed e-mail service, because it’s not like Facebook allows anyone to build applications that openly interface with their communications systems, and it certainly isn’t as though their chat service is integrated into a whole host of IM clients.

Alex, do you actually think before you write any of this flotsam down, or are you saving up those last pair of brain cells to make that obscure cultural reference at a dinner party that no one will understand but will make you feel like you’ve finally said something witty and can now retire? Jesus, you’re almost as bad as Arrington.

I’m sorry, Alex, I take that back: you’re not almost as bad as Arrrrrrrington. That was uncalled for.

A defeatured email client tied to a giant time sink and Farmville? Great. This is a big case of “just because you can does not mean that doing so will make anything better”.

…and your entire post is a big case of “just because my sphincter is too tight does not mean I should tell everyone about it.”

Shut up.

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  1. February 7, 2010 at 2:03 am

    applause standing applause
    I’d swear Dan Lyons wrote that

    • February 7, 2010 at 9:41 am

      High praise! Thank you, you wonderful bastard.

  2. bdh
    February 14, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    One small point… Facebook chat only works on IM clients because people reverse-engineer it, and it breaks on a regular basis. There is no published API.

    And your example of the apps is silly because, obviously, the apps work to KEEP people looking at Facebook’s ads, rather than allowing them to avoid them (as, for example, enabling POP would).

  1. November 12, 2010 at 8:05 am

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