Announced last November, and then quickly forgotten, was Facebook's enhanced messaging system. The new system promised SMS and Internet email ability in addition to the already familiar internal Facebook-only messaging. Your new @facebook.com address is your facebook page name @facebook.com. For example, my page is facebook.com/hess.ken and my Facebook email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. It works just like regular Facebook messaging but now you can email people on the Internet and they can reply to your real facebook.com address.
As Mark Zuckerberg noted in his original announcement, the Facebook enhancement is no replacement for real email because it lacks advanced features such as forwarding, reply all, CC and BCC. It's still pretty cool even with those limitations. But, if you're using Facebook and you want to send a short message to someone outside of Facebook, you don't have to click away to another page or to another application; you simply use Facebook's built-in system.
I expect the Facebook gang to enhance the mail program to separate internal and external messages, to use folders or labels, to forward, to CC and much more. I foresee Facebook attempting to create a unified messaging system to combat Google's Google+, Gmail, Google Docs and other related properties.
One of the related innovations that Facebook proposed is the "Social Inbox." This separates mail from your friends into one folder and everything else into another. This way your social mail has a different priority than the latest Viagra ad. This is a rule-based message separation and is really nothing new. Email programs have done this for some time. The innovative part of the Social Inbox is that it's done automatically--or so I gather.
The old adage, "Competition promotes good business," is still true today. When Facebook was the only game in town, innovation was slower and features were less spectacular. Now that Google has stepped up its game, Facebook will begin the brainstorm process again and you, the user, will reap the rewards of it all on both sites.
Until those innovations kick in, you'll have to settle for your new Internet-capable Facebook email address.
So, if you're curious, login to facebook, click on Messages, compose a new message, address it to your external (non-Facebook) email address and see if it works. You can check your external mail for the message and snag your Facebook mail address while you're at it. If it doesn't work, don't worry, the roll-out takes time. You'll have one very soon.
Are you excited about having your own @facebook.com address? Write back and let me know.