I also agree on the impact of mobile SNS as driver for the mobile internet. Therefore I want to share some of my thoughts and experiences about mobile SNS available in more mature markets like Japan.
Mixi is (still) Japans most popular SNS service with around 15 million registered users, a quite impressive number achieved in less than 4 years.
Mixi started as a PC based SNS service and later also introduced a mobile version. The company for a long time put its main focus on the PC based site and mobile mixi was more considered an add-on or a quick access tool. But this changed quickly, as on average around 30% of mixis access came through the mobile phone. So mixi started to extend its mobile service adding more and more functions for mobile users.
Now mobile became the main platform of mixi: Over 55% of the access to the site is mobile access.
Other SNS companies even ignored the PC and started their service right on the mobile phone:
MobileGameTown (MoBaGe) by DeNA combines casual mobile games, avatars, and SNS services. Users can play free casual games create their own avatar, set up a virtual apartment, watch videos, write blogs and meet others in online communities. The platform also has its own virtual currency called Moba Gold.
Just within less than 6 month of the launch registrations surpassed 6.5 million and they are now at over 10.5 million and still growing. And different from Mixi, MoBaGe is only available on the mobile phone!
And despite this, it looks like it will overtake mixi in the long run because the whole service is tailored around the needs of mobile users and not just the mobile extension of a PC based service.
So even in Japan, the mobile SNS boom is still growing after over 4 years. Here people seem more apt to engage in social network services through their mobile phone than through their PC. And it makes sense because for many people around the globe their mobile phone is and extension of their social self.
I deeply believe SNS are drivers for the mobile internet. And this makes sense because -as I have already mentioned elsewhere- the mobile phones DNA is “social”. Very different from the PC which was not initially built for social interaction but for processing data
The mobile phone was built as a social device. Its main purpose was to to keep in touch, to connect, to communicate, Many functions of modern SNS have been core functions of the mobile phone for a long time so it is just natural to turn this device from a social hub into a mobile internet social network hub.