Mobile social networking skyrockets

New stats indicate strong demand for "media snacking"

Recent statistics indicating a rapid increase in the number of users accessing social networking sites via mobile phone users, should come as no surprise, according to one social media expert.

Laurel Papworth, a consultant to business and government on social media, said that the rise in mobile social networking was about the power of devices, such as the iPhone, to enable users to access sites when and where they wanted.

According to Papworth, consumers were no longer interested in investing large amounts of time communicating in different forms of media such as voice. Instead, consumers were moving toward "media snacking," a term coined to describe social interaction over periods of anywhere from 30 seconds to a few minutes.

Papworth's comments follow new figures released by Telstra, which show a record number of its customers using mobiles to socially network over the past 12 months via sites such as, Facebook, Twitter and MySpace.

According to Telstra, Twitter’s popularity has grown by 450 per cent, while those using MySpace has more than doubled. The number of customers using Facebook on their mobiles has grown by 390 per cent since April last year.

Optus has also recently flagged the increasing popularity of social networking on their mobile services pointing out that popularity has been a result of easier accessibility.

Managing Director, Optus Consumer, Michael Smith, said in a statement that social networking played a major part in creating around 80 per cent of traffic on Optus' mobile portal.

Mobile phone manufactures and telcos are increasingly providing ways of accessing these networks through unified interface such as HTC’s Sense UI, Motorola’s Blur and Telstra’s Tribe.

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