It appears that social networking is now the #1 mobile web destination according to a recent research report. The data collected and published by Openwave indicate that Facebook and MySpace are the two top mobile search terms on both Google and Yahoo. The latest study from Nielsen shows that member communities and email are a close 4th and 5th place of global Internet activity (66.8% and 65.1% respectively). However, the same report shows that member community and email showed the two highest growth in 2008 (5.4% and 2.7% respectively). These two studies indicate a high convergence between the mobile and the social networking worlds.
I totally get this convergence because mobile and social are two worlds where people are choosing to spend a lot of their time now. For many people in the world, their mobile devices are the only ways that they are accessing the Internet. No wonder also that Facebook is extending their Connect API to the iPhone.
Will social networking replace email, as one headline asks? Look. Just because there are more sheep than journalists doesn't mean that sheep will be replacing journalists any time soon. Social networking and email are two different communication channels meant for different types of communication. Social Networking is all about airing your laundry in public. Email is a point-to-point communication technology therefore you would naturally chose one over the other depending upon what you want to say - and to whom you want to say it. That having been said, they are highly complementary as well. It is quite common now to receive an email whose content is so good that you'd want to share it with your friends by posting it to your social page - just like you'd share an article from a news web site.
The mobile device is growing in worldwide popularity as the launch platform of choice to the Internet. A surprisingly high percentage of Facebook and MySpace members access these sites from their mobile devices. Next to search, email is the #2 Internet activity on mobile devices. It's high time for marketers to step up and facilitate the bridging of the gap between these two mobile activities. For starters, interactive marketers - this includes email marketers and social media marketers - need to develop mobile-friendly email content that can be easily read on a mobile device and then shared (from said mobile device) to a social site. A lot of people use their mobile devices to triage their email inbox for later reading from a desktop computer. I've seen many a man sitting in the Husband's Chair at Macy's culling his inbox while waiting for the Missus to try on her forty-seven different outfits. (I know 'cause I'm there in the Husband's Chair too.) Give him meaningful and mobile-friendly content that he can immediately recognize the value of so that he can then share it with his Facebook friends. A simple and easy way to extend your brand.
If you want to know more about great social networking strategies, go visit my colleague's blog on Blogspot.
Do you have a favorite social site that isn't Facebook? Let me know what it is and what you like about it.