There is a lot of confusion surrounding mobile social networking, the introduction of LBS into social communities and friend watching services such as Twitter. Are they all from the same fruit?
Social networking is when users promote themselves communicate with friends via a community such as bebo, Facebook or MySpace. The mobile versions of these sites provide eco-systems for consumers to network, evangelise, discuss or share ideas or information.
The future of social networking will be cemented in mobile when interoperabilitly between these networks occurs (see Google’s OpenSocial or Yahoo!’s oneConnect).
At the moment, mobile operators are embracing online social networks such as Facebook or bebo. Orange and T-Mobile offer flat rates for bebo use in the UK (around GBP 3 per month). Alternatively many North American mobile operators enable users to SMS details and provides to Facebook to ensure some revenue from the social networking services.
Friend Finder services
These social networking services make location essential and offer communities such as Loopt or Clicmobile. With these services users can find friends and know their location and meet up. This moves the interaction online into a new physical paradigm.
We recently wrote about Buzzd and BuddyBeacon which have been deployed by MVNO in the US Helio. Helio is a trendy MVNO (owned by SK Telecom/ Earthlink) and is actively promoting interaction via maps. Its vision is to transform the mobile device into a community application. For this location is essential as is geo-tagging.
Friend watcher servcies
These include services such as Jaiku and Twitter where people can show off where they are and what they are doing. These services are great ways of self promotion and whilst users can talk to one another or get the answer to a question rapidly. These services are primarily about self-promotion.
There are many picture social networks. Flickr allows you to save your photos and share them. Newer services such as Zannel or Radar take a more unique stance allowing users to tell stories via pictures. These type of networks are great online but harder to develop purely on mobile because of the cost of using MMS. But as Shozu is proving – uptake is growing.
Video on mobile is growing and YouTube is by far the biggest community to date. But also companies such as JuiceCaster are enabling video to be a way of showcasing, life, news, reviews.
Mobile TV or Video community?
This is an new spin on an old service. TV chat services have been popular for a long time where users send SMS to interactive sites. But now YoSpace’s See Me TV is allowing users to rate and upload mobile clips in a cross between TV and video services. This is a more of a boredom filler networking tool with the minimum of interaction – where voting is king.
In fact, it take original operator services such a Hot or Not or Ruff or Buff slightly further getting consumers to engage with video services.
More over the next few days.