Social communities are not only restricted to the Internet and popular sites like Myspace, as the mobile community has also been reaping the benefits of social networking with about 50 million members worldwide. ABI Research group today released an in-depth report, which states that by the year 2011, mobile community figures will more than triple, and worldwide social networking will include 174 million individuals.
“The rapid rise of online social communities — gathering places such as MySpace and Facebook — has done more than bring the ‘pen pal’ concept into the 21st century,” says vice president of research Clint Wheelock. “It has created a new paradigm for personal networking. In a logical progression, many social communities are now based on the mobile phone and other portable wireless devices instead of (or as well as) the PC. Such mobile social communities extend the reach of electronic social interaction to millions of people who don’t have regular or easy access to computers.”
SMS.ac, Jumbuck and AirG are the leading providers for the technology and marketing behind major mobile communities, but opportunities for competitors may arise with the demand associated with mobile social communities. Mobile operators profit from the data usage with each mobile community that they carry, some including monthly charges for their service. Opportunities to market to a specific demographic or community are another tool gained from the self-profiling attributes of online communities.
Currently, the U.S. has not had any major sponsors and users must go through a third party in order to access their mobile communities.