BW article on Mobile Social Networking

BusinessWeek is the latest to write about mobile social networking here. The article points to the same trends we've all heard about before: everybody has their mobile phone, younger users are earlier adopters of mobile data and carriers are motivated by the potential for higher data revenues.

One interesting tidbit was their comparison of the potential for mobile social networking vs. mobile games. As I wrote here, the opportunity to help people connect with friends (i.e., help them socialize) is what's missing from much of the focus around mobile games and mobile video. Here's the excerpt from the BW article:

"Already, 33.2% of 18- to 24-year-old Americans post photos to Web sites via mobile phones, according to mobile consultancy M:Metrics. By contrast, only 18.7% of these young adults play downloadable mobile games, one of the most successful forms of mobile content to date — and a $600 million market in the U.S. last year, according to consultancy IDC. 'This suggests to me there's absolutely interest in participating in mobile social networks,' says Mark Donovan, an analyst at M:Metrics."

The article also touches very briefly on the real differentiator for mobile social: location. Mobile social will really take off when companies figure out a user-friendly way to incorporate location into mobile social. When that happens, we'll hear less about how mobile social is an add-on to online social networking (ex., getting SMS alerts when somebody does something online) and more about how mobile social is driving social networking.


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