Mobile and the Evolution of Social Media

A look at how large of an impact wireless devices have played in social networking.

By on May 3, 2013

It’s hard to believe, but just four short years ago social networking began to make its way into the mainstream. By 2011, social media had become such a phenomenon that Mashable called it “one of the most powerful vehicles for change the world has ever experienced.” Today, it has evolved into a source for major news, sometimes providing information before traditional news outlets, and has become engrained into daily life, thanks in large part to smartphones and tablets.

The rush of people to social networks via their mobile devices resulted in major platforms streamlining and improving functionality. Twitter recently updated its Android and iOS apps with improved Search and Discover functions so all content is integrated into a single stream, and Facebook launched its native Android app to increase performance and enhance scrolling functionality. Most recently, Facebook integrated its platform even further within certain operating systems with the launch of Facebook Home, a replacement for the standard home screen with a news feed-like feel, making the social network more accessible than ever.

Other platforms are taking advantage of GPS, NFC and location-sharing technology to help users find and connect in more exciting ways. Highlight, for example, notifies users when friends are nearby or had been earlier in the day, and enables them to “highlight” people they find interesting in order to connect with later.

These social media innovations are not only inspired by the fact that people are logging on via mobile, but also by where and when they are doing it. The Nielson report highlights the social TV trend, where smartphone and tablet owners communicate via social media while tuning into their favorite programs.

Apps such as IntoNow, which integrates Twitter to let users chat and send snapshots of what they are watching, and Twitter’s Vine, which allows users to attach short video to their tweets, continue to gain popularity.

CNN Money predicts that major TV networks will soon develop their own social apps to get involved in the social TV game. As for what else is next for social media on mobile, we’ll have to just wait and see.