How to Rescue Messages from Facebook’s “Other” Inbox

rescue facebook other messagesLast week’s post on Facebook’s “other” messages has since been picked up by SlateLifehacker, and ZDNet, making hundreds of thousands of Facebook users aware of this “mystery inbox.” Across all of the reports, people are talking about missing messages containing:

  • Interviews
  • Job offers
  • Performance gigs
  • Family members trying to reconnect
  • Prizes (legit) won and claims expired
  • Deaths
  • Serious illnesses

And the bitch of it all? Those with Facebook brand pages were finding that their messages had been summarily dismissed into the Other Messages purgatory (a chasm filled with fire-breathing penguins and an inherently high population of Russian call girls). Across all of the outlets cited above (including this blog), there was a question that remains unanswered:

How the $%^*&((# do I rescue messages from certain people/brands from the circle of hell that Dante didn’t even know existed: the Others folder?

Today, we’re going to make it happen.

As a pre-emptive note to any writers and bloggers who feel that they want to “paraphrase” this post on their website without due credit, check this out, yo. I really wish I didn’t have to put this message in here.

How to Choose Which Facebook Messages Go Into Messages and Other

First, I wish it were as easy as checking a box or Facebook actually having a useable UI that allowed you to easily make this choice. Alas, it’s Facebook. We choose to use it, we are its bitch. We must accept the fact that we are Users and Data Sources, and not really the intended audience. Thus we must MacGyver together a solution. Let’s roll.

Here’s a snapshot of my Facebook Other Messages inbox.

Facebook Other Messages Brand Pages 1

And here I am thinking – DANG! I sure would have liked to get that message from The Subdudes (do not judge my musical tastes) into my actual Messages folder so that I had an ice cube’s chance in hell of seeing it.

Step #1: Click on the Message you want to rescue. There is no screenshot for this. Use The Force, Luke.

Step #2: Access the Actions tab

Facebook Other Messages 2

Step #3: Select “Move to Messages” (collective GASP)

Facebook Other Messages 3

And ka-POW! Messages from that person or brand page will now land in your Messages folder instead of the chasm filled with hookers and fire-breathing penguins.

But Erika – is there an easier way to do this when I fan a brand page? Surely…

Yeah, well, surely there isn’t. If anyone has a hack, I’m happy to hear it. You would think that with all of the snazzy changes Facebook keeps making, they’d add some basic functionality to their “social inbox” that lets us, the users (and the reason their actual customers pay them a metric ton of money), use the site on a deeper level. But it’s Facebook. We take the evil with the eviler and find hacks like these that are as unintuitive as a set of furniture instructions from IKEA. But they’re hacks. And they work. So we deal.

And as a bonus, I recently had to deal with the whoospie that I’d let a boatload of people become my Facebook friends that didn’t really need to be in my inner sanctum. One of my Twitter folk, Brent Terrazas turned me on to a browser extension called Grease Monkey FacebookDeletes that allows you to bulk select friends to delete. It works like a charm (zapped 204 people into oblivion) and if you’re due for a Facebook friend purge, it’s a one-click installation and should take you 10 minutes max to tighten your circles down to a manageable level. The extension works on Chrome, Firefox, and I believe IE. Note: Be sure to read the instructions for the script, as you’re supposed to check the friends you want to KEEP. Getting it reversed could be bad ju ju.

A special note for those who run Brand pages: Since your messages are summarily dismissed to the “Other Messages” file for new fans, wouldn’t it be cool to let new fans know about this “glitch?” Create a blog post that you can post on your wall every now and again that addresses this issue so that your fans can get the messages they want in their inboxes? It’s traffic to both your website AND the things your fans on Facebook need to know most. Link them to this post, create a how-to of your own. Your audience will love you for the help.

19 replies
  1. Tim Lewis
    Tim Lewis says:

    I’m sure that your contest is already over, and my Inbox only ever showed me as having “1” message in my “Other” Inbox, but I just spent over an hour cleaning out messages from the “Other” Inbox that dated back to late 2007…Just wanted to pass on my empirical data… 😉

  2. Kellie Brooks
    Kellie Brooks says:

    Of COURSE you like the Subdudes! I’ve gotten my dance on to them many a time – most festively at Pete Seeger’s Clearwater Festival on the Hudson River in NY. They ROCK the crowd! How much fun to be had with them on stage 🙂

  3. grahamophone
    grahamophone says:

    Hi Erika – having been delightfully introduced to your blog via Dave’s facebook page (author of “House of Cards” – you owe me two cents, Dickerson), I’m still wondering how the “lost” messages from individuals sneak in the “Other” inbox (is this like a big ol’ Foucault experiment or some shit?). For example, the man you described in your previous post (the passive-aggressive “let’s go for coffee” dude) – surely he wasn’t writing from his Brand page? Or….. was he?
    (tah tah taaaahhhhh – scary suspense music). 
    Ah, facebook. Can’t live with it, can’t live without it. Thanks for your post – I hope you can return to your usual red-headed hilarity soon!  Greets, Christine

  4. Genene
    Genene says:

    What an eye opening article!  Thank you so much!  I thought I was kind of “savvy” on FB, etc but I had never found that “other inbox”.  There were some messages that I had been waiting on and I thought the person/business had snubbed me or didn’t care.  


  5. winfredroger
    winfredroger says:

    Very useful post for Facebook users!! I don’t know about others but this post is very handy for me. I think about such info lot of experience users also unaware. Thus good work!! Thanks


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