Sunday, 13 July 2008

Social networking goes mobile

A logical next step in the evolution of social networks is mobility, i.e. using social networks while on the move , geo-locating friends old and new for spontaneous get togethers, allowing your location to be tracked in real-time for all or some to see, etc. While it is easy to see a host of related privacy and safety issues, if managed properly, what fun mobile social networking could be.

Typically, Asian markets (in particular Japan, Korea and China) are ahead in this regard with many mobile extensions of existing social networks as well as bespoke mobile networks already doing well. Early US market feedback indicates: ".. .there could be demand, particularly from teens and young adults. Already, 33.2% of 18- to 24-year-old Americans post photos to Web sites via mobile phones, according to mobile consultancy M:Metrics." Business Week, 2006

Given that mobiles are the constant companion of most young people today, it is easy to envisage a future of mobile social networking. The fact that Google now own Dodgeball is a sign of future directions. The links below are indicative of some of the mobile social networking activity currently taking place but not an endorsement of them (more in depth reviews to follow at a later date):

The real coup for these networks will be physical presence detection, and although this feature is on the horizon for most, consumer adoption will be key. With some real innovation on that front happening, particularly in Europe, hopefully, the critical mass of users required to make mobile social networking a success will soon be reached. If the technology (esp. GPS) delivers a seamless user experience and people find it useful, they will no doubt succeed.

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