This according to a new study from ABI Research, mobile users of social networks like MySpace and FaceBook (and those yet to be invented) will reach 174 million by 2011. Clint Wheelock, ABI’s vice president of research says:
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.
The big stmbling block at the moment is the business model – the more time and use on the sites, the more money they cost the user, inhibiting growth. ABI suggests a re-think of where profits come from, and an exploration of monetizing the data and behavioural info gathered, rather than access alone. One of their suggestions is that firms sponsor appropriate communities of interest in order to improve access, reduce consumer costs, boost growth and connect with their target markets.