When Slate magazine writer Elizabeth Weingarten forgot her laptop in the back seat of a cab one fateful day, she couldn’t help herself from sobbing afterwards. This is the story of how one writer–who works online–lost a computer and its contents because she didn’t know about a basic Facebook feature called Other.
Aside from the hardware, Elizabeth worried that a recently completed magazine article –which wasn’t backed it up–would also be lost forever. That is, unless some good Samaritan took it upon themselves to return her lost laptop in one piece. Not altogether likely in the big city.
Elizabeth called the Taxi and Limousine Commission, gave them all the information she could, and hoped for the best. Sadly, things turned out as she feared–her computer never turned up. A week later she bought a new one. And that was the end of the story.
Or was it?
It turns out someone had found Elizabeth’s computer and had been actively trying to contact her on Facebook about it.
Why hadn’t she received the messages? Because Facebook automatically stored them in Elizabeth’s Other folder.
Do you know where the Other folder is? Neither did Elizabeth. Other is a subcategory on your Facebook page. Just click on Messages (on the left side of your home page) and there it is. Many users don’t even know it exists, which can be a problem. Just ask Slate writer Elizabeth Weingarten!
Here are some of the messages she found in her Other folder, after the fact:
“Please let me know if you lost something and identify what you lost,” said the first one. “Did you forget something?? Please identify what you lost,” pleaded the second. “Are you the one who lost something? Please respond and identify,” and so on…
Why confuse users this way? Facebook, for its part, has an explanation. From the company blog: “With new Messages, your Inbox will only contain messages from your friends and their friends. All other messages will go into an Other folder where you can look at them separately. If someone you know isn’t on Facebook, that person’s email will initially go into the Other folder.”
Facebook doesn’t want messages from your friends to be sandwiched between bills and bank statements. Which seems logical–if only users knew about it! Full disclosure: until reading Elizabeth’s cautionary tale I had forgotten about the Other folder myself.
So there you have it: Kiwi Commons’ 2011 tip of the year for Facebook users. Once again, if you’re waiting for a message you haven’t received on Facebook, check your Messages. Then click on Other.
Talk To Us! Did you know about the ‘Other’ sub-category in your Facebook Messages folder?
Image source: CNET