Accessing social networks via smartphones is on the rise, according to the results of a recent Dialaphone poll.
This is something that is echoed by figures released by consumer analysts Nielsen at the end of last year that indicated that 47% of the world’s social networking is done via mobiles.
Since this figure is an average it infers that some territories see even higher numbers; in Singapore an incredible 70% of social networking traffic comes from smartphones. In Europe on the other hand, the figure stands at a more sedate 33%, with North America slightly behind at 30%.
That the global average sees nearly half of all social networking carried out via mobile devices shows that the mobile arena is a powerful one and that social networks are becoming intrinsically linked with the handsets that a growing number of people carry.
We asked our readers how much they rely on their smartphones for things like tweeting and posting status updates to Facebook. The response indicates that nearly all use their smartphone as the main method of accessing social networks, with some revealing that mobile devices are their sole means of carrying out the task.
However, there was a small minority who responded that they do not use their smartphone for social networking at all. This is surprising, especially considering the range of options mobile users now have for connecting to social networks and the deep integration that some of those social networks have within particular user interfaces.
Facebook is an almost ubiquitous presence in the sharing menus seen on smartphones, with the option to post photos, videos and web links to the internet with a just a few taps. Twitter is also often to be found there and many apps make it simple to tweet a link directly from the app itself.
In recent times we have even seen Apple further open iOS to the major social networks and both Facebook and Twitter have been integrated into iOS 6 where before they were only accessible from their respective apps.
Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer HTC went even further, coming up with a novel innovation within its BlinkFeed feature as seen on the HTC One; a drop down bar allows the user to post to social networks directly from the homescreen of the device without any need for a separate app or widget.
Facebook now looks set to move further into the mobile arena, a move no doubt aimed at capitalising on the enormous number of mobile users that Mark Zuckerberg’s company can claim. When the company floated on the stock market last year it made an alarming claim that it was clueless as to how to capitalise on this mobile userbase – something that many of the firm’s executives are likely eager to change.
Beyond these big names which were established on the web before moving into mobiles there is a new class of social network that consists of apps created specifically for smartphones and which continue to exist primarily within the mobile realm.
Photo-sharing service Instagram (now owned by Facebook) is built upon the idea that images can be captured using a smartphone and easily uploaded from the same device. While the service now has a web presence that has brought it to desktops, this is still limited and a mobile device is required to make full use of the network.
Aside from Instagram, Path is a mobile-only social network which centres on the novel idea of limiting the number of friends you can connect with, putting online privacy at the core of its being. However, whilst its approach is to be commended in these times of digital connectivity, it has come in for criticism for uploading information from handsets without the user’s permission.
Smartphones are now so prominent in the social networking world that we can only imagine that the figures mentioned at the beginning of this article will rise, possibly to a point where far more people use the likes of Facebook and Twitter on their handsets than on desktop computers. Smartphones, with their large touchscreens and built-in cameras, are well suited for quick updates and uploads, and the way in which social networks now integrate with user interfaces will only see their use on mobiles grow further.