Posts Tagged ‘ linkedin ’

Mobile social networks – when can we expect the boom?

These days it rains announcements of social networking sites that are starting to build their mobile offer. Both MySpace and Facebook have created adapted versions for the mobile phone. With OneConnect, Yahoo! offers a specific application with the ambition to integrate all mobile social networks. For professionals, LinkedIn has prepared a mobile version. In our direct environment, we haven’t noticed much impact or use of these. Yet we expect that the uprise of mobile social networks will become strong in our area.

“Today, social networking is already thè killer application on the mobile phone.” This quote from Tom Weiss at the Web Goes Mobile seminar, organised by MobileWeb.be, surprised many attendees. “The mobile phone is by default equipped with a contact list and most people use their GSM to transmit messages. Isn’t that exactly the definition of a social network?” wondered Weiss.

Indeed, in the large sense of the word the mobile phone is already today the ultimate social networking device. The success of mobile telephony can be explained mostly by the inherent basic need of human beings to communicate with family, relatives, friends, colleagues. This is – one way or another – what it’s about for social software providers.

Social networking communities that want to be successful on the mobile will have to deliver an extra additional value, on top of the communication possibilities that the mobile phone already offers today. International research by Informa Telecoms & Media proves that this is working nicely. According to their recent report ‘Mobile Social Networking, Communities and Content’, the amount of worldwide users of mobile social networks has risen in 2007 to 57 million, which is double of 2006.

Mobile social networks

Mobile communities are most popular with youngsters, in the age category 14 – 20 years. In general, teenagers delivers the most active contributions. For many of them, an important part of their social life happens amidst these new community tools.

The most successful mobile communities position themselves in the same way, which we’ll here call ‘Make Me Rich & Famous’. Many teens want to have their ‘Moment of Glory’ within their reference group. They’ll do anything to post the most attractive and creative content, hoping to build fame and status. Mobile communities such as SeeMeTV (UK) and SelfCentral (New-Zealand) encourage this strive for fame by developing ‘stars’ that are rewarded by their fans. They can generate additional revenue for every download of self created content.

At this moment, the business model behind mobile communities remains pretty vague. Most of the revenues end up at the operators: Informa estimates that the average social networking user is worth 5 dollars of data transfer per month. Other money sources such as transaction fees on consumer generated content or advertising revenues are currently rather poor. Whether mobile social networks will break through on a large scale and on the short run will depend mostly on whether the mobile operators will be open to share data revenues with the content providers.

LinkedIn goes mobile

Social networking site LinkedIn has announced a mobile version, which you can find on m.linkedin.com.
The beta release is available in 6 languages and allows to search profiles, invite people to your network and receive updates about connections. A final version, featuring more and phone-specific functionality, is expected later this spring.

LinkedIn counts about 20 million subscribers, which is a lot less than MySpace and Facebook, but it concentrates on business networking, which has become its niche. Their mobile site aims to benefit business men who are attending a meeting or conference and who quickly want to check certain information on a business profile of another attendee. It is available for iPhone, iPod Touch, Blackberries and other WAP-enabled mobile phones.

LinkedIn