Paul M. Banas on Consumer Insights, Marketing Research, and the Digital Media Landscape
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Social Networking Is Going Mobile

Like peanut butter and chocolate, if ever there were two trends that were meant for each other, Social Networking and the Mobile Internet are them.

Cell phones and smart devices are inherently social devices to begin with, and unlike home and office locked PCs, they can blend virtual and physical social networking in all environments.

While I’ve written previously that cell phone usability and their current data plans have held back full development of the Mobile Internet, the iPhone and the Blackberry (and all its clones) are beginning to turn the tide.

From a recent study, eMarketer is predicting that that mobile social networks will rise from 82 million users in 2007 to 800 million worldwide by 2012.

Mobile Social Networking

Much of this growth will come from existing social networks shifting their coverage to the mobile space.

According to Brandon Lucas at MySpace, who is their senior director of mobile business development, MySpace recorded over 7 million unique visitors to MySpace Mobile in the US in the six months since launch. “It wasn’t until we rolled out that we got a sense of how powerful demand was for MySpace on cell phones”.

There are also dedicated mobile social networks that are growing as well. For a complete list of 38 different mobile social networks, check out this post by Social Media Trader.

With the ability of mobile devices to operate in many different social spaces, both virtual and real world, the expectation that mobile will be the future of social networking is not as far fetched as it seemed only one year ago.


1 Patrick Lord - MobiLuck { 05.09.08 at 3:17 am }

Another key point is that mobile phones bring location and proximity detection into the mix, allowing people to bring together online and real-world interaction through social networks. This enables your online social networks to be automatically updated with information from your real-world movements and social interactions, or for real-world encounters to be precipitated by the detection of one of your Facebook friends nearby…

2 Paul M. Banas { 05.09.08 at 5:56 am }

Very intriguing point. I believe GPS is a sleeper feature for most cell phones and it opens a lot of relevant functional opportunities for mobile.

Having location and proximity detection play a role in mobile social networks could really provide a wow factor, especially in the situations you’ve outlined above.

Thanks for visiting and for the great comment.

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