Did you know your email address on Facebook has been changed?

Facebook seem to be King of making changes and not telling anyone lately (another post about that tomorrow) so no-one should really be surprised at the latest, but it does seem to be taking a bit of a liberty.

When you signed up to Facebook, you gave them your email address. Maybe you used your personal address, or, like me, you used your business address. After all, you want to be sure that if someone wants to get hold of you, they have the correct address, right?

Well apparently not according to Facebook.

In a very quiet move they’ve recently changed everyone’s email address to a special Facebook one that sends emails directly to your Facebook messages.

You can see in the screenshot below that my email address has been changed from nikkipilk@gmail.com to nikkipilkington@facebook.com!

Now, some people are going to be cool with that. It may suit their purposes to have any emails sent to them by people from Facebook direct to their Facebook messages box.

But what about those people who aren’t cool with that?

For example, me.

I don’t want people to email me direct to my FB messages box – that’s what the message button is for.

I want people who choose to send me an email to be sure that that email comes direct to ME. If it’s a business email, I want the whole conversation in MY email so I have a papertrail and don’t have to refer to Facebook all the time to keep up with it.

I want to be able to schedule events from my email directly into my calendar or forward it to my CRM to remind me to do certain things – I can’t do that if it’s in the proprietary messaging system of Facebook.

But that’s not what pisses me off most of all.

What REALLY bugs me is that THEY DID THIS WITHOUT EITHER ASKING OR INFORMING ME!

Now, I get that facebook is free. I get that they’re providing a platform for me. I get that they expect me to converse with business contacts through my Business Page (you can like it here BTW).

I get all that.

But it still feels like what they’ve done is wrong. They’ve changed something vital about my profile without asking me or even letting me know.

Will it stop me using Facebook? No, I love Facebook. But it does make me think a little less of them (not that they care of course).

However, I’m not 100% miffed with them, because it is possible to change it back, and indeed I have.

In this post on Lifehacker, they tell us exactly how to do this:

  1. Click “About” on your profile and scroll down to your email address. Click “Edit” to change them.
  2. Click on the circle next to your Facebook email address and change its setting to “Hidden From Timeline”.
  3. Click on the circle next to your other email addresses and change their settings to “Shown On Timeline”.
  4. Click the Save button at the bottom of the Edit popup (Don’t forget this step).

There’s a screenshot on that post to help, pop over to read the whole post.

So you can get your default email address back and ignore the Facebook one; that’s a good thing.

Facebook have admitted that they added this facility, but haven’t said why they made it default on everyone’s profiles without telling them; that’s bad.

I’d be interested to know – before you read this or other posts over the last couple of days, did YOU know anything about these chances? Please take a few seconds to let me know in the comments below.

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Are you offering an online service or not?

exclamation markTwo things have happened today to make me wonder whether some people really ‘get’ the whole online thing.

First, my UK passport needs renewing. So off I go to the relevant website to renew it. There’s a nice link to renew my passport online, so I click it. But on reading I realise that I can’t actually renew my passport online. What I can do, is fill in an online form, that will then trigger a proceudre. This procedure seems to be to POST me the form I’ve filled in, along with a list of things I then need to POST back. So, not a ‘renew your passport online’ service at all then? And to make it worse, to receive the renewal form to a UK address takes up to a week! I may as well just walk into a post office and pick up a form myself!

Secondly, I have to register with an agency here in France, because I’m not far from having my baby now. So, I duly go to their website to register, fill in my details and find out that the passcode they have given me doesn’t work. I check it a few times, get locked out for ten minutes for trying more than 3 times, and am invited to ‘request a new password’. So I do. I click on the ‘request a new password’ link, fill in all my details again, and click on the submit button….. and get a nice page thanking me for requesting a new passcode, which will be POSTED to my home address and should arrive in 7-10 days.

Is it me?

Both of these things are meant to save me time and make my life more efficient, but they’ve actually just extended the time I have to spend sorting them out. They’ve pretended to be online services, but really they’re not. In both cases things would have been quicker had I gone to the relevant offices and sorted things out, rather than trying to do it online.

These aren’t the only instances I’ve come across recently of online entities making it difficult to do business with them. There was the website that only offered a postal address, no phone number or customer support email. And the online advertising company who wanted me to fax an order form, refusing to accept a scanned copy. And probably a myriad of others if I think about it properly.

Remember, if you’re offering an online sevrice, make things easy for your customer, not harder – or you could end up in someone’s blog for all the wrong reasons!
Creative Commons License photo credit: Patrick Hoesly

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