Is Messenger better than email?

A reader had a question about the differences between Facebook Messenger and email:

“What is the advantage of using Facebook messenger over email, in my case Yahoo email via Firefox browser? My email address list is probably 30 times larger than my friends in Facebook, so don’t even know if I could send a message to a non-friend. But I can send an email.”

Neither program has an advantage over the other because they are two completely different things designed to meet very different needs. I’d never choose one over the other because I need the functionality that both types of communication offer.  And it all really depends on who you need to communicate with. Just as I wouldn’t want to give up the option to send messages via the postal service or the option to call someone for a voice conversation.

Messenger is designed for real-time ongoing conversations. You can carry on text conversations, video calls, and even voice calls. Like email, you can also attach documents, photos, and videos. I use it to communicate with friends all over the country and even in foreign countries. There’s no additional charge for chatting with users overseas. There are additional options like the ability to send money.  Messenger is designed for communicating with other people who already have the app, though you can set it up to send text messages to folks who have phones, but not the Messenger app.

I feel that Messenger shines most as a phone app, enabling me to have instant, mobile communication with any messenger user, anywhere. I also like the ability to create message groups for family events or work projects. The majority of people that I communicate with regularly have Messenger installed on their phones, so it’s become my primary way of connecting with them.

In the past, I primarily used email for business communication or to send messages that I want to save separately or I think the recipient might want to save separately. (All of your communications in Messenger will be grouped in one long thread.) But I have to say that recently, Messenger has become the preferred communication method for many people I do business with.

If you enjoy chatting, Messenger is a great way to have real-time conversations with your friends who either have the messenger app or are using FB on a browser at the time you’d like to chat. It’s also great for making video calls with friends and family.  It’s not a substitute for email by any means.

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