So, I've started doing some writing for Gordon MacMillan and Brand Republic on their excellent new social/marketing/digital blog The Wall. My first post, on the potent combination of mobile and social, has just gone live. To celebrate, I'm cross-posting it here:
You’ve no doubt heard it before that location is the next big thing. It’s about to get much bigger. With Facebook soon to announce new location-based features at their developer conference late this month, location is about to take a giant leap forward.
Combine that with talk of a Foursquare sale, and the growing list of companies (FT and Starbucks being only the most well-known) starting to use Foursquare check-ins as a whole new form of promotional CRM, and this space is rapidly becoming a hot-bed of focus and innovation.
At their developer conference, Chirp, Twitter announced new geo-location services including one called ‘points of interest’ which allows people to geo-locate their precise location (instead of general location which you could do previously) and search particular locations and see all the posts written from that spot (imagine doing this at a concert).
From the information that people post, Twitter will build a database of places across the world so people can refer to them in posts. With over 105m registered users just imagine how powerful that could be. Tweets already contain information additional to the 140 characters, including the date, time and the app used but with a new tool called Annotations developers can now include additional material, opening the potential for services such as the name of the location where the tweet originated, location based ratings or even payment and puchase options.
No wonder analysts like Jeremiah Owyang at Altimeter are saying that this is the moment when Twitter has gone from being a data play to being a platform play – something he calls the ‘natural evolution of a web company’.
When Morgan Stanley’s Mary Meeker delivered her latest ‘Internet Trends‘ report at at a Google event the other day, she talked about how the key to the commercial potential of the web will be the game-changing convergence of two trends: mobile and social. She noted how the mobile internet is ramping faster than desktop internet did and predicts that mobile will be bigger than desktop internet in 5 years.
She noted the rapid growth in data usage, how the iphone/itouch has the fastest new tech device/ecosystem ramp in history and how whilst the average cell-phone usage pattern is 70% voice, the average iPhone usage pattern is only 45% voice.
Meeker pointed to the ever-rising share of communications being garnered by Facebook, and how the Facebook app is the most downloaded of Apple’s free apps (in fact Facebook now has over 100 million people who use the social network on their cell phones, a figure that has increased five-fold in the past year). “Where consumers are empowered by the internet, Meeker says , “usage changes very quickly. And where eyeballs go, ad money goes.”
Personally, I’ve noticed that, as my network expands on Foursquare, so the service improves in its usefulness. And the more useful the service the more people use it, the more possibilities open up. It’s what Faris Yakob once called ‘Geotility‘.
The technology is just the facilitator. It’s the people that make it useful. With the network that Facebook has (everyone is on it), coupled with the degree of engagement and mobile usage it commands, this will be a real game-changer. As Meeker says, the “rapid ramp of mobile internet usage will be a boon to consumers and some companies will likely win big (potentially very big) while many will wonder what just happened”.