Mobile Social Networking Will Be Fun and Profitable
Being a technology geek, I am fascinated by new technology and trends that are changing the world that we live in. In my previous post regarding Facebook and its future IPO, I touched on what I view as the future of social networking. In this post, I’d like to continue the discussion of the future of social networking, specifically, the mobile form. I’ll also take a look at companies that may be poised to benefit from such a trend and how you, the investor, can take advantage of it.
At this point, you may be asking yourself what’s with the picture of the popped collar guy in this post? Well, I believe that even that guy might have a chance for a successful social life with the concept of mobile social networking. Well, maybe not. Either way, let’s continue.
Mobile Social Networking
As Apple’s (AAPL) Steve Jobs debuted with the new 3G iPhone the other day, phones now have GPS and located based applications. Basically, the phone knows where you are. It also knows about other phones near you. Potentially, you can be in a bar, look at your iPhone (or other device) and see if any of your contacts are also in the vicinity.
This concept can be taken even further. What if your phone showed you Facebook-like profiles of other people in the bar that you are having a drink at? The guy in the picture above could know some tidbits about a female sitting across the bar by checking out her profile before saying hello to her. Or you could find other people in your industry and introduce yourself; call it networking on steroids.
Whenever I mention this capability to anybody, they immediately push back on it and talk about privacy and big brother type stuff. My answer is simple, like now, you share what information you want to share. Every social networked device will allow you to set your own privacy settings. If you don’t want anybody to know you, then it’s no big deal.
Others will fully embrace it. Many others. Look at the exponential growth and popularity of social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, and LinkedIn. This is just the extension of such social networks to the mobile space. It is coming, believe me.
Companies Poised To Benefit From The Trend
My number one company that is poised to benefit from mobile social networking is Apple. They have the best device for it in the iPhone. Apple has done an amazing job in opening the development for applications for the iPhone, so the sky is the limit on what applications you will be able to run on your iPhone in the very near future. With the drop in price for the new iPhone, you will see even more iPhones out there which will only create a snowball effect in social networking applications on the device. Pretty exciting. Here is a cool example of a University attempting to create a localized mobile social network using iPhones.
Like I mentioned in the Facebook post, I would stay away from investing directly with any social network companies like MySpace (News Corp). I envision an open social network not owned by any one company in the future.
It is truly fascinating to watch trends such as social networking grow and help shape so many lifestyles. Mobile social networking will definitely continue this trend. My recommendation is to enjoy the fun of mobile social networking and make a little money off it at the same time by investing in Apple. Check out my other posts on Apple’s stock to help you find the best buying opportunities.