The Future of Mobile Social Networking

This is a guest post by Zack Hanebrink, an online marketing professional guest posting on behalf of Zerista, provider of services to help you build your own mobile community app for your community.

It is safe to say that social networking has gone mainstream and is here to stay. There are only 3 countries on the planet that have a higher population than Facebook has users which proves the overall popularity of social media. That being said, where is social networking heading?

Increased Usage and Popularity

According to Jake Hird’s post on 20+ mind blowing social media statistics, social media (including social networks and blogs) are the 4th most popular online activities online, which even beats personal email. 67% of global users visit member communities and 10% of all time spent on the internet is on social media sites.

Look for main-streamers to get more active in social media and branch out past Facebook to other social networking sites.

Personalization

Social media is getting more and more targeted. There are more and more social networks that focus on specific industries or topics. No matter what someone may be interested in, there is a blog, network or forum out there to connect like minded individuals.

Business

Last year many companies dipped their toes in social media and experimenting with blogs, Twitter profiles, and Facebook pages. Now look for these companies to get smarter with their social media strategies and look to measure and monetize their efforts.

Mobile

We have already begun to see a shift in the time spent on social networks on a mobile device. This will continue to increase. Mobile phones are one of the main sources people keep in touch with friends and family through calls, texting, and email. It is a natural progression for people to connect to their social networks from their mobile devices.

Many social networks already have a specific mobile site or a downloadable app. Look for this to increase. Social networks created specifically for mobile are increasing as well. This makes sense as people are spending more and more time on their phones and phone technology is getting more and more robust.

A recent survey from Ruder Finn indicates American mobile users spend:

  • 2.7 hours per day on the mobile web “connecting socially, managing their personal finances, and even as a means for advocacy.”
  • 91% use the mobile web to socialize vs 79% of desktop users.
  • 45% post comments on social networks.
  • 43% are connecting with friends on social networks.
  • 40% share content.
  • 38% share photos.

The report also outlines “the data underscores the rise of phone applications. Three in five (61%) respondents download applications at least once per month while 36 percent of users download applications from social networking sites at least once per month.

Michael Schubert, Chief Innovation Officer overseeing digital strategy at Ruder Finn adds in Intent Behind Mobile Internet Use, “Mobile technology means that people no longer have to wait until they’re in front of their computers to do their work. And people are taking advantage of that; using mobile devices to do their core work while using desktops to navigate longer format and higher bandwidth content and tools. This is resulting in huge changes – and opportunities – across industries, making mobile an essential channel in keeping businesses competitive.”

I think in the months and years to come, business and social networks are going to shift more resources to creating a presence through mobile social networking. The data shows that people are spending more and more time connecting through mobile and brands will look to promote through these channels.

Your Thoughts on the Future of Social Networking

Do you use your mobile phone to access your social networking sites online, comment on blogs, and interact with businesses? What are your thoughts on the future of social media and social networking, especially in terms of usage of these sites on mobile devices?





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Comments

  1. says

    You are right about everything becoming more specialized. We are seeing the specialization of social computing evolve just as television stations have evolved. There are more television stations than ever and the numbers will continue to grow as people want to surround themselves with very highly specialized areas of interest.

    This will present many opportunities for smart internet entrepreneurs in the coming years.
    .-= New from Kathy@Kathy Blogger Should You Use No Follow Tags For Comments On Your Blog =-.

  2. says

    Zack, so far I’ve been a bit of a Luddite with mobile technology. I have a cell phone, but rarely use it, and then just for actual phone calls.

    However, you have the data that shows that mobile use of the Internet, especially for social networking, will become more and more important. I frequently see that people have posted to Twitter and Facebook from their phones, and I have friends that are I-phone fanatics.

    Smart businesses had better pay attention — and be ready.
    .-= New from John Soares Donate-Tip Buttons on Your Site — Do They Work? =-.

    • says

      Yeah… I have started poking around in Foursquare, and the businesses that aren’t setup to even have a link are really missing out on website traffic from people who are checking out the places their friends are visiting.

  3. says

    This was a very informative post and I thank you for sharing it. The data shows a remarkable change when it comes to the advancement of mobile technology and the spread of it’s use.

    I live in an area which lacks cell phone reception so I don’t own one. In time we will have the ability to use mobiles and I too shall be social networking via mobile. Until then I will be satisfied with living here in a paradise where people still communicate face-to-face, by email and via DSL service.
    .-= New from timethief WordPress Apps: Blogg1ng 0n th3 g0 =-.

    • says

      Yeah, sometimes you do start to miss the personal interaction that writing on someone’s wall just doesn’t provide. But at the same time, it’s nice knowing that there is always someone you can talk to, even if you are continents away.

  4. says

    Thanks for sharing interesting information. Actually this is all true. At the same time I think it is a bit sad to understand that people communicate more virtually than in real life. Of course in case your friend is on the onther side of the Earth this is the best way out but if your friend is just in the house next to your own? Why don’t you better have a walk and chat with him or her?

  5. says

    I recently purchased a phone with the Android OS, and I have to say, I probably use my phone for the majority of social networking. Between the apps and mobile versions of all the popular social media sites, it’s so easy to do no matter where you are. It’s very easy to use, but I hope I can tear myself away from it! Haha
    .-= New from Ryan@Metacom Creative Design Taking a Train Across the Country – Part Three =-.

    • says

      I don’t think it will take over either, but it might in situations where you’re blocked at school / work from a certain site, but you can still get there via your phone.

  6. nisha says

    I’m seeing where there will definitely be a GPS tracking capability in the future. So that you know exactly where your friends/family are at all times. I’ve heard this is already a feature on some phones.

    And this might sound strange, but I’m seeing a way to search for people in your vicinity. So you could be in a mall and be able to search for a doctor and it could find someone nearby based on some profile they have connected to their phone.

    It could even provide for a way to meet people around you based on internet dating style matches.

    But hopefully this kinda stuff is a long time away.
    orkut

    • says

      I think I saw that already for Verizon… just an app that you can see where phones in your plan are at to keep tabs on your kids.

      For searching for people in your vicinity, you can always try FourSquare. if you are at a particular location, you can see if others have “checked in” there as well. So far, I have been at a Chipotle at the same time as one other FourSquare user. I didn’t exactly network over burritos though. :)

  7. says

    This is quite obvious as many mobile service provider have added many attractive offer for mobile internet surfing.

    Along with this we are also getting affordable mobile phone which support these social networkings in fact company is selling these products with the tag line that this support facebook or twitter or similar website.
    ZK just posted Online Profits re-opens and now its FREE

    • says

      Mobile services are definitely targeting social media users more and more in their ads – they know if someone is a Twitter addict and they can provide the best tweeting functionality, they have just won a new customer.

  8. says

    Interesting article.
    I think mobile social media is still at it’s early days and there is still room for lots of improvement.
    One of the reasons why it’s still going to improve tremendously is due to the fact that these days people are living more high-flying lifestyles. Everyone wants to keep in touch and up to date with their businesses and personal lives.
    It really is interesting to see how things come along…
    Tola just posted Using Sub Domain and Sub Folder for Websites

    • says

      Exactly. I’d like to see more feature rich apps that allow you to do more things on your mobile like you can on the main site. That would make mobile social networking much better!

  9. says

    Yea well, whatever. My last real cell usage was in my early 20’s; I am now 40; do not miss it, do not plan on one anytime soon. I have my land-line at home, if I’m out I’m already busy. Perhaps if I had face to face clients and the like, the story might be different.

    I’d also like proof of one life or death situation when someone HAD to get that darn tweet out ASAP! lol
    Dennis Edell just posted The Future of DEDC – Part 4 – FINALIZED!…..?

    • says

      No life or death situations, but I have actually checked Twitter to figure out what the heck is going on in my neighborhood (huge congestion on a surface street, saw a tweet from someone local that there was a jumper on the bridge down the road).

      I also find it helpful at conferences / seminars. If you’re not sure which track to go to, or you’re bored in the one you’re in, you can see the tweets based on the hashtag from other rooms and sneak into a better one.

    • says

      I think you only get one chance to click on it, and if Twitter is having any issues, it blocks it out too. I have been running into some funny stuff in the last two days between Twitter fail whales, HootSuite and the TweetMeme “already tweeted”. They really should let people use it as often as they would like.

    • says

      My mom felt the same way on her last business trip. It seemed like everyone there had a smartphone of some variety, but she didn’t. She was considering the iPhone 4 until they showed that photo of it being completely destroyed due to the glass casing.

  10. says

    Social networking sites have gained popularity and usage in short period of time than other online medias. And we all are certain that this will even grow higher in the coming days.

    Usually, I get in touch with social sites from my computer but frequently use mobile for instant messaging purpose.
    Main SEO just posted How to Hide Blogger Navigation Bar

  11. says

    Mobile internet users are increasing day by day. So there is an important need for optimizing our website for mobile users. You know 25% of my website users are mobile users and 10 % of ads revenue is generated by mobile users.

    Recently I have done a research and found that more than 20 % of the social network users from India are mobile users and this is because GPRS plans are becoming cheaper in India and most of the youngsters are having multimedia cellphones.
    Pratish just posted First Generation Computers

  12. says

    I agree with Pratish, mobile users should be given notice by optimizing our websites for their use. I believe that we are indeed going into the mobile age, people are busy and always on the go, mom and dad alike, that the mobile thing is the only thing that can help us keep in touch with family members. And right now, it is being used to keep in touch with a network of friends as well as for other internet uses. Mobile age is dawning!

  13. says

    In my opinion in the near future Mobile Social Networking will be more used then the one from PC. Every day the number of mobiles connect to internet are growing and it will be a loot easier to keep in touch with your friends.

  14. says

    Since this article there are some amazing ways for mobile marketing now. I focus on photography mainly and try and look at all the things we can try and apply to it.

    I’ve been massively interested in Instagram and the amazing things it can do for photographers, branding, marketing. It goes far beyond photographers though. Photographers are trying to be snotty and not adopt it, but designers are all over it. NCIS is currently running a massive contest for their television show.

    Mobile Photography is changing things fast too. It brings a huge visual opportunity to marketing, branding, and image.

    It’s the most interesting social networking I can find today.
    Scott Webb just posted Instagram Meetup- 3 Strong and Proud



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