The GSMA Mobile World Conference was last week in Barcelona, and it would seem that this year's hot topic was not necessarily who had the hottest new model or accessory, but rather how mobile brands can continue to benefit from the increasing numbers of mobile users on social networking sites. Myspace alone reported a quadrupling in the numbers of members accessing the website via cell phone in the last year - up to about 20 million of 135 million users total, with Facebook reporting similar gains.
It isn't all that surprising to me that the number of mobile social network users is exploding so quickly; as Reuters explains, "the spontaneous and personal nature of much of that communication lends itself perfectly to the mobile phone." Myspace announced deals with Nokia and Palm at the conference that will incorporate Myspace-specific utilities in their phones, such as photo uploads directly to the website, and Facebook's iPhone app had already reached over 1 million users as of last July.
Free and easy accessibility to these sites via mobile is only going to grow increasingly important as the number of working professionals using Facebook for networking purposes increases and the college students already addicted become working professionals themselves. AdAge just posted yesterday about Facebook's latest user statistics: users aged 35-44 are now officially the largest age demographic on both Facebook and MySpace, with users aged 55+ being the fastest growing segment. Among the younger demographics, there just isn't much more room to grow, as Facebook is already the most visited site across college campuses according to an Anderson Analytics poll last fall. Still, some wonder if Facebook and MySpace will become "less cool" as the average age demographic continues to age. Yet, with Facebook and MySpace continuing to make strides in increased mobile access, I don't see that as too great a concern. So long as these large, broader networks continue to be the most popular one-stop internet sharing utilities out there, users will be hesitant to stray anywhere less convenient - especially when you don't have to remain tethered to a computer to access them.
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