Social Media and Networks, Mobile Applications: Future?

One of the hit apps in Nokia N97 is definitely the Facebook app that comes with the phone. When looking at the most popular phone apps of any OS or platform, the social media apps are there in the tops. It is safe to say that social media, news and utility apps are the three most popular app types for phones these days. And if we look deeper into these categories, the news and utilities include variety of different apps offering different content and functions. Social media apps usually give users access to their favorite social network or way to communicate and send messages to their networks.

Lot of companies are offering their own services: Nokia Beta Labs has FriendView and Google has Latitude. These two are very similar, but still different services. Essentially both of them show you and your friends’ location on a map. There are multiple Twitter apps available for all phone platforms, each offering slightly different features and specialties. I assume that Twitter apps are in fact the largest group of the social networking apps available for phones today.

The social networking is relatively new phenomenon; it is safe to say that it has really been a mainstream thing for less than five years. Sure the services have been available longer, but the average citized has jumped in the wagon only during the few past years.

In the same time the mobile phones have developed as well as the data packages’ pricing has gone down. This has made it easier for the not so tech savvy average person to use these services and not to worry about the costs. We have to remember that sms and mms have been around for a while and using email with mobile phone is also quite new thing for most of the people.

Today the combination of the two have changed the direction of what people want, what is possible and what we never thought about before. Lot of today’s technology is something that we never thought of 10 or 15 years ago. Who would’ve needed internet on a phone or even have the guts to ask for a web pages designed specifically for a mobile devices?! These days the services that do not have mobile pages are the ones who fell off a while ago.

Let’s think about news. I do still watch evening news from TV, but I think it is more of a re-cap or addition to what I have learned during the day via internet and mobile news services. If a news service does not have mobile site or mobile service, I am not following them. Not because I don’t like them, just because they are not offering the news in the form that is suitable for my needs. To simplify it, why would I read a sheet size newspaper in bus when there’s smaller, easier to read newspaper available?

Today the quality of the content is even more important, but since there are so many providers available, also the medium and form of the medium can make or break the service. If I can read the news comfortably with my mobile phone, I will spend the time sitting in public transportation by reading the news. If I can’t, I will find a service that can offer me their services in mobile phone friendly form. Simple.

But let’s get back to social media. Few years back when social networking sites started to gain momentum, some people were wondering who the F**k cares what you did or ate in the morning. When some of the visionaries started talking about adding your location with gps enabled devices, these same people could not understand why someone would care what you ate, when and WHERE! It’s insane, now everyone knows where you go, no privacy at all!

The thing is that it is not interesting what you ate for breakfast, not for everyone. Not ever for most of your friends. The thing is that you don’t have to react to everything. The status updates like that are usually there to simply inform this person is up and running for the day. What the status updates are for? Well, it depends. It is up to the person who posts them. In my opinion it is about quick shouts about interesting things I notice, what I have done, if something sucks. It’s something even less formal and more public than a text message to your friends. It is just a comment one could say while hanging out with friends and you would not specifically expect a reaction. It can also be a conversation starter.

But what about the location sharing? Well, it is up to you if you want to show your whereabouts 24/7 to whole world. You can switch the feature off! Amazing! How smart! 😉 There are lots of uses for this thing. You go out on the beach, post about it and leave your location available for your friends to see. So if they’re around, they can find you or message/email/call you “Hi!”. You can spice up your vacation trip blogging by adding your whereabouts ie as GoogleMaps points for whole world to see.

Social networking is gaining popularity even more now that there are applications and services available for everyone to customize their web presence. The genius about this all is that everyone can decide exactly how they utilize the services; same service can do different things for different things. When the experience is personal and the user feels they can contribute the way they want, you have a killer service/application.

But where is this all going to lead us? What is the next big thing? Who knows. There are lot of interesting services and startups coming out all the time. Some of them look silly, but somehow really cool. Some are instantly cool. Which of these will survive? Which ones will blossom? It’s not easy to predict how the masse will take and find new things. On paper or in brief description Twitter doesn’t sound much, but right now it is the hottest thing in the field. Who would’ve known that “microblogging service where you can post messages containing 140 characters or less” would become so popular?

ICQ was the hottest IM available back in the day and how things look right now? It is still around, but people are referring IMs in general as “Messenger”. Like Xeroxing, ripping Velcro or using Teflon pan? I hope the ICQ guys got a good price from AOL.. 🙂

D-Ma

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About dobermann
Native Finn living in greater Helsinki area, currently in Vantaa. Still avoiding growing up, been somewhat succesful, thanks to my dogs. Passionate about music, hot rods & customs, dobermanns, motorcycles and everything I might foind interesting. I am just as boring in real life as I am in this blog. I do my best and have succeeded in it very well. Any other info, look from my posts or ask, thank you. D-Ma

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