As was previously stated in earlier entries, something had to give in the wonderfully bloated world of social networks. It actually has been in play for awhile but, lo and behold, mobile carriers are realizing that the next big thing for their continued world dominance will be the melding of social networks with mobile carriers. Thus the following news doesn’t really surprise me:
MySpace Mobile to be Packaged with Sprint
Fox Interactive Media and Sprint have hooked up to offer MySpace and other FIM properties to mobile customers. Under the deal, MySpace will come as a default option on Sprint’s mobile portal, meaning that the site can be accessed directly as opposed to typing in a URL (in this case, mobile.myspace.com).
Currently in beta, MySpace Mobile will launch officially early next year. Other FIM properties included in the deal are IGN, FOXSports, Photobucket, Rotten Tomattoes, and AskMen.
Why is this important? Because the users of social networks use something even more frequently than their respective social network. Namely, their cell phone. So the thinking is; If you can pair the 2 digital beasts, then you have a match made in marketing heaven. A captive audience 24/7/365. Now this comes on the heels of the announcement in October that:
O2 Partners with MySpace and Facebook for Mobile access in the UK
O2, the UK mobile operator, announced partnerships with MySpace and Facebook, giving its users access to these social networks from their mobile devices.
This partnership provides MySpace and Facebook users, access to their profiles pages for viewing and editing via their cell phone or hand held device. Granting mobile access to the major social networks is another way in which consumers, especially in the teen and college demographic can stay engaged with not only their social groups but also with advertisers and marketers. Virgin, Nokia and Sprint have all gone this route as well. O2 already has a deal with Apple for exclusive sales of the iPhone in the UK.
And this comes in from the vapor trail of a July announcement in which:
Sprint Nextel had announced two new services which enabled users to access social networking sites, and let customers locate each other using GPS technology.
Providing better browsing options for access to social networking sites such as Xanga, Rabble and LiveJournal meant that users would now have more reason to use mobile browsing and stay better connected with friends. Partnering with Loopt, Sprint Nextel is also allowing users to geo-locate one another via GPS, within another private network of friends.
The only sticking point with all of these announcements is that there is still the speed issue that all of the carriers and the respective social networks seem to be ignoring. Granted the iphone seems to have all the speed you need with their Safari browser, but not everyone can go out and afford an iphone. Having said that, what is the 15-18 year old supposed to do with the free phone their parents got them that can only text 50 times a month, supposed to do?
It’s too soon to tell, but don’t think that we’re the only ones who have mentioned it, or have thought about it. The bottom line is this: That the social networks know that a key to their survival will be extending the social network beyond the confines of the home/bedroom. Until they do that, like I said, They’ll all eventually end up standing around staring at each other saying, “Now what?”