Facebook on my Phone and other Tomfoolery
Social networks are on the move…to our cell phones, reports the New York Times. They astutely note that there are 3.3 billion cellphone subscribers, which is way more than the total number of Internet users, and way, way more than the number of online social networkers. That all adds up to a pretty penny, once monetized.(Ah, but how, they ask. That comes later.)
Let’s talk about what separates the two – the glaring difference – mobility. For countries with low Internet penetration, a mobile phone is often the only way to get online, so access to social networks is of course going to be through them – which is where mobile-friendly interfaces are going to come into play. But there’s something else that mobile has going for it that PC’s don’t: you’ve got it with you. (Nearly) all the time. And, due to GPS and related technologies, it knows where you are – which means your friends will too.
Is this really something that we want? I have a hard enough time hiding from people – my little white lies are really going to suffer in credibility if someone can tell exactly where I am. "Um, I can’t come tonight, I’m staying late at work." "Oh really? Are you working at Dragon Bar these days?" Caught.
Like it or not, cell phone social networks are arriving. With about 30 startups, like GyPSii from Amsterdam and MyGamma in Singapore, battling to grab market share and introduce new technologies, it’ll happen sooner rather than later.
And what a market share it is and will be, according to market research company Informa Telecoms: about 50 million
people, or about 2.3%of all mobile users, already use the
cellphone for social networking, from chat services to multimedia
sharing, and the penetration rate would mushroom
to at least 12.5% in 5 years.