Chautauquas

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Location: United States

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Social networking and mobile phones

The recent sale of myspace has once again brought the spotlight on social networking. While people are still trying to figure out how to monetize social networking and asking whether it is actually paying off, the number of sites providing the service keep on growing and diversifying. Whether one can come up with a succesful business model or not, the demand for such a service is undeniable, which is why the business has continued to grow.

If you haven't still haven't figured out where I'm headed with this, I'll lay it out now - Cell phones as mediums of social networking. There are a lot of driving factors that make it appealing for mobile phones. A recent post on mobile gaming by Oliver Starr quoting Greg Costikyan's edited version of a presentation to nokia on the true mobile game, is what set my mind running with the possibilities that mobile phones offer for networking.

What is a mobile device?

"Well, for one thing, they are first and foremost voice communication devices. And they store quite a lot of information about your circle of friends and business contacts, in the phone book. Along with a datebook (which most people don't use, but some do, particularly on higher-end phones where they can hotsynch to an Outlook calendar). They are personalized devices--people add ring tones, screenery, and images of friends so they can see a pic when someone calls. And they're networked--as computing devices, they may be primitive, analogous to (say) pre-Pentium computers, but early home PCs weren't networked until comparatively recently.
From a user perspective, they areprimarily social devices, used to keep in touch with friends, family,and business contacts, mainly via voice and texting." (Excerpted from Greg Costikyan's talk on the true mobile game)


So, what do we need for social networking?

A profile, which in most cases has contacts, pictures of contacts, interests and some other information. It also has a way in which one could get in touch with the profiled person. And it allows one the ability to look at a contacts' contacts.

Now, I'm not going to try to make the prophetic statement about how exactly mobile networking will come about, but the synergies I see between the capabilities of a mobile phone and the needs of a social networking service, drive me to believe that somewhere over there is a big opportunity to bring them together.

And I'm not quite done with this yet, I'll continue this once I've sorted out some more thoughts on this...

26 Comments:

Blogger Lomesh Dutta said...

Very well said Harsh. The theme of social networking seems just inherent to these devices. Google had recently acquired a company by the name "Dodgeball" that has potentially a cool product in this space. Keep an eye on that

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