How to Use the Facebook Inboxes
Facebook has two inboxes: The e-Messages Inbox and the Other Inbox. The Messages Inbox is your e-mail inbox. It’s where you will want to store the bulk of your e-mail. In the middle column of the page, under the Messages heading, are all of your conversations, organized by friends. Your conversations to and from friends don’t require subject lines because they aren’t, unlike your e-mail, organized by subject. Instead, these conversations collect messages shared by the person (or people) talking.
Like your e-mail inbox, your conversations are organized from most recent near the top to older ones toward the bottom of the page. Also at the bottom of the page are little arrows that allow you to page backward through your entire message history. Conversations with unread messages are highlighted in blue.
Here is a close-up of two conversations in the Messages Inbox. The bottom one is a conversation among many people. You can see the text of the most recent message and the Profile picture of the most recent sender. The top one is a one-on-one conversation with a single friend. On the right side are the conversation’s timestamp and two icons:
The conversation’s timestamp is marked on the right side of the conversation preview in gray. This timestamp tells you how long ago the most recent message in the conversation was sent.
The little circular button allows you to mark a conversation as read or unread.
The little X icon allows you to archive a conversation. Archiving conversations allows you to move them to a different part of your Inbox until a later time, when they become relevant to you again.
If Facebook Messages brings your social messages front and center, the Other Inbox is for, well, all that other stuff. This might include messages from people you don’t know, group messages from events you were invited to, updates from Pages you like, and so on.
In many ways, the Other Inbox is exactly like your main Messages Inbox. The conversations are organized by person, Page, or Event. Conversations with unread messages are highlighted in blue. When you click through to view a message, you’ll see the most recent messages first.
The biggest difference between the main Inbox and the Other Inbox is that if you have an unread count of messages in your Other Inbox, that number goes away as soon as you view the list of Other Messages. In other words, you can more easily clear all the unread Other Messages just by clicking the Messages tab from the left side menu and then clicking the Other tab that appears below the Messages tab.
If you have a conversation in Other Messages that you want to be more prominent, click into the conversation, click the Actions button to open the drop-down list, and choose Move to Messages. All the other options are the same as the conversations in your main Messages Inbox.
You can’t reply to messages sent by an event or Page. Those are one-way communications. You need to go to the Walls or send individual messages to administrators of those events or Pages if you want to get in touch.