Could mobile social networks be the next big thing?

Posted by Bonnie Bogle on Jun 26, 2006

It’s widely accepted that social networks are the latest online wonder child. is the fifth most popular website in the world, is the 20th, and is the 38th, according to traffic ratings. But will these communities work away from the computer?

MySpace thinks so. In April the website made a deal with Cingular to offer text message alerts to people whenever a new comment is added to their MySpace page. And Helio, a start up mobile company, has released a phone chock full of MySpace features that allow mobile users to view MySpace profiles and easily post comments and photos to the website from their phone. If this catches on, it could pave the way and even serve as a model for comprehensive mobile and web campaigns. Cell phones are already being effectively used around the world to contact government officials, register voters, and sway voters. Combining the text, photo, video, and voice capabilities of cell phones with a strong online community could make for very powerful, community-focused campaigns.

The combination of MySpace and cell phones, along with some old fashioned fliers, were credited with organizing the large student protests against the proposed immigration bill in March. Just imagine if while at the marches, students posted photos, videos, and text messages to a social networking website or to the website of a group organizing against the bill, and they also sent these messages to all their online friends. I’m willing to bet even more students would have joined the rallies and that press coverage would have focused more on the students themselves, with more student quotes and original photos.

Of course many mobile social networks already exist. Dodgeball is available in 22 U.S. cities and helps users connect with friends, friends of friends, and even crushes through mobile phones. Users enter friends into an online profile, send Dodgeball a text message saying where they are, and then a message is automatically sent to all their friends. If a friend of a friend or a crush (you can enter five in your online profile) is within 10 blocks of you when you check in, they are also sent a message. Other mobile social networks include Playtxt, Pantopic, and TxtMob, to name a few. But none of these have reached the widespread popularity that social networking websites have experienced.

Will mobile social networks take off anytime soon? It’s hard to say. A recent study by M: Metrics looked at the types of mobile social networking activities people are already doing and are most likely to do in four countries - England, Germany, France, and the United States. The survey found that 10.1 percent of mobile subscribers in England have used their phone to engage in some sort of social networking activity, while 7.2 percent of Germans, 6.7 percent of Americans, and 6.5 percent of the French have done the same. Uploading photos to a website and chatting were the two most popular mobile activities in all countries. Also notable is the number of people who said they were likely to post a video or a photo to the web from their phone in the next year; 15.2 percent of mobile users said this in England, 12.9 percent in France, 11.9 percent in the United States, and 6.2 percent in Germany.

As more mobile phones have photo and video capability, these numbers will surely grow. And if online social networks continue to grow at explosive rates, it’s likely that these activities will transfer over to cell phones.

The combination of MySpace

The combination of MySpace and mobile phones, as well as some of the old leaflets, credit organizations on the proposed immigration bill in March, a large student protests. Just think, if both students in the parade, post photos, video and text messaging, social networking site or a group of organizations opposed the bill, they send these messages to their online friends. I bet even more students will participate in meetings and focus, press reports, there will be more students that they have more student quotes and original photos.

A notable omission

There are some emerging leaders in this space already and one notable site is MocoSpace. You can tell which sites are getting traction by going into their chat rooms and seeing how active they are. This one seems to be on fire lately.


As some would think it would be a good idea for mobile social networking, I would be for it also. As for the people who be against it, they should keep there cellphone as a regular cellphone, and discontinue using their providers' extended data plans and probably discontinue or have it set so they don't receive text messages........ I like mobile web though, because it gives me the opportunity to view webpages and receive email as well...... but it comes with a hefty price though. Most cons outweigh the pros on this. Unlike regular webaccess through a regular computer, you can't hear background songs on webpages, and mobileweb also has often times a lot of limitations....... like the rest of the page you want to view , can't be seen because of the size of the page..... the last page I saw was measured at well over 4.5 MB..... and my Treo650 froze after that......

Mobile Phones

If a mobile brand come up with a handset with MySpace feature that allow mobile phones users to view MySpace profiles and that usercan post comments and photos to the website from their phone this will be an excellent news for mobile phone users, this is called a real “mobile social”. I am user you are agreed with me on this.

Mobile a natural extension

As the capability of mobile phones increases, it becomes a natrual extension of social activity occuring online - in fact it's a bridge between the "artificial" online social activity and the rest of a persons life.

One company, Enpresence, is targeting online communities with a mobile social networking offering that extends existing social networks into the mobil space. Enpresence lets users know when someone of interest is nearby. Take a look.

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