Social Media and the Smartphone

With the release of long-awaited updates to its iOS and Android apps, it appears as though the social media megalith Facebook has finally cottoned on to the reality that mobile tech is here to stay.  Of course, Facebook is also here to stay, although the fact that it spent a cool billion to buy out a competitor, in addition to the fact that the younger generation is moving its business elsewhere to services like Twitter and Tumblr, certainly seems to suggest that the landscape of social networking is changing significantly.

The shifting sands of social networking were remarkable enough to catch Distimo’s attention, and they devoted their most recent report to emerging trends in the mobile social markets.   While Distimo makes the obvious observation that “the introduction of smartphones transformed the mobile phone from a calling (and texting) device to a device that can do basically everything,” their number-crunching still revealed that the social aspect of the phone remains its most important function, regardless of the fact that fewer and fewer people are communicating by voice calls.

Unsurprisingly, Facebook dominated the market over the last two years, but there is a growing consensus that it’s just about reached the saturation point.  Of course, everyone wants to knock the proverbial king off the proverbial hill, so naturally the argument can be made that the bad press Facebook suffered over recent months – from its lackluster IPO to a continuing decline of its stock price – is simply the price that frontrunners traditionally have to pay.  But the fact of the matter is that other social networking services like Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, and so on, are doing quite well in the niches they occupy.

Distimo’s number-crunching demonstrates that there are still opportunities for innovative developers who are able to ferret out the niche markets that behemoth services like Facebook might be failing to fill.  Bear in mind that Instagram wasn’t even two years old when it earned a billion-dollar price tag, and the impressive performances of the more targeted social networking services are proof positive that there are still opportunities to explore.

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