Mobile Social Networks: What’s their future?

I’ll admit it; I’m one of those weird people who click that box that enables websites to send out lots of pointless newsletters. I live in the hope one day they’ll serve a purpose or value – like the Woolworths ones did (once upon a time) – and of course updates on other websites and products is always handy information to have at hand!

But a couple of months ago I signed up to a website to do with “students”, homework help, offers, competitions all that rather exciting rubbish really. And you know for some part it has been of some good use; then I got an update about a “Mobile Social Network”.

Originally, I though “ahh, I could review this, and see how incredibly wonderful it may or may not be!” then I clicked through, browsed at the website and spoke aloud to myself…

“Samantha, what are you doing? This whole idea is completely pointless, and certainly not “free” to you!”

It then suddenly hit me, like a brick that purely mobile social networks (Socials) are completely pointless, and useless.

The way I see it, with Facebook, Myspace and to some extent even the dreaded Bebo out there (plus many others), small little Mobile Networks such as “QEEP” which I was so close to reviewing, have not got a hope in hell to be of any use.

I’ll explain further; I was one of the first people out of my collection of friends to “migrate” to Facebook from Myspace; now encouraging my friends to move from their beloved Myspace accounts to something which in comparison offered no personalisation or customisation and looked rather bland was something of a headache. It was an even tougher job getting the Bebo users to realise what a pile of crap Bebo truly has become and convert them to Facebook also. Over a year down the line, if I want to see a certain friends’ latest photo’s I’ll still have to sign into Myspace of Bebo and have a browse.

Now as far as Mobile Socials go, I can’t see the point in it. A mobile phone for “most” people is merely a day-to-day tool; and I have to say there are still relatively few people I know who use their mobiles for any web-browsing need or desire. It’s simply not on the agenda.

Therefore it only appears apparent that for some young people Mobile Socials have absolutely no place in their lives.

Now for me, even though I do go on Facebook on my mobile (I think its part addiction), I go online because I know I have a few hundred friends, and that since the last time I looked at something it would have updated or changed. Similarly, I know that there is quite a large possibility I’ll have a status comment to respond to, or any other kind of notification.

But before any of that can even happen, you have to persuade your friends to migrate to this particular site or service. And that is by no means an easy task or feat; and then I realise, what is the point in having a Social just purely for the mobile?

As Facebook Mobile demonstrates, a platform you can enjoy on your Laptop, PC, Mac, PDA, and Mobile is quite possibly the best. Anyone can have access to it, and it’s relevant to you no matter what you’re doing. If I’m on Facebook at home, why would I update my under-populated profile on my Mobile Social?

There’s a time and place for Mobile Socialising, and I don’t know about anyone else, but for me it’s during times when I’m away from my computer, and when I have a bit of spare time on my hands. The hassle that I sense with even partially migrating to a new platform is pointless. There is nothing I can benefit out of a service which only serves a purpose at those very rare moments; I would much rather update my Facebook, or reply to a comment on my main form of internet socialising.

So does the purely mobile social network have any stability? Personally, I don’t think so; and just as the stories that have appeared on MIR over the past week about Twitter (and using it at home, work or play) just go to prove this. Any form of social network I believe, has to be usable and accessible no matter where you are, and what you’re doing. More than anything though, if you decide to migrate to a new platform you have to be able to ensure that your friends are going to want to follow you there; otherwise, what is the point?

I want to know what you think though. Am I completely wrong? Do you use a completely mobile, mobile social?  Feel free to send any e-mails into Samantha@mobileindustryreview.com

Also, before I forget; I hope everyone has a very good Christmas too!

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6 Responses to Mobile Social Networks: What’s their future?

  1. Ben Smith December 24, 2008 at 8:42 am #

    Sam, You're spot on – exclusively mobile social networks are a waste of time unless they build on another mixed-delivery service.

  2. rob January 1, 2009 at 12:14 pm #

    Purely mobile networks do have a role – some (mocospace, itsmy, Mxit) are doing well – Also in many parts of the world computer based internet is rare and cellphone based internet is common therefore there are many parts of the world where social networks built first for mobile will prosper. Mobile networks are also good for location based services although noone has really cracked this yet.

  3. rob January 1, 2009 at 1:14 pm #

    Purely mobile networks do have a role – some (mocospace, itsmy, Mxit) are doing well – Also in many parts of the world computer based internet is rare and cellphone based internet is common therefore there are many parts of the world where social networks built first for mobile will prosper. Mobile networks are also good for location based services although noone has really cracked this yet.

  4. John January 14, 2009 at 6:10 am #

    i agree with rob, in africa, india, china…. there are millions of people who will only access the internet via there mobile phones

  5. John January 14, 2009 at 7:10 am #

    i agree with rob, in africa, india, china…. there are millions of people who will only access the internet via there mobile phones

  6. John January 14, 2009 at 12:10 pm #

    i agree with rob, in africa, india, china…. there are millions of people who will only access the internet via there mobile phones

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