2008 Social Networking predictions for India : Rise of Mobile communities

If 2007 sowed the seeds for social networking sites (probably too many seeds in a barren garden?), 2008 will witness the death of many such sites and will instead witness the rise of mobile communities.

Lets take few examples from webaroo’s smsgupshup community. Within 7 months of launch, few interesting communities have been created in the site:

  • TSKBreakingNews . The group is run by a user based in Tinsukhia (Assam). He sends across local news (which doesn’t find mention in Times of India) to his subscribers. The group already has 164 users and growing every day.
  • BPUTAlert : Group by students from BPUT group of colleges in Orissa. They send across updates and alerts about class timings and goings on in their college. Good way to instantaneously reach to all students.
  • MutualFundGuru – A group by a mutual fund enthusiast who sends regular updates on the best performing MFs and the new MFs on the block.
  • SaiBaba – A group formed by SaiBaba’s disciples. He sends across one saying by Sai Baba every day. He has about 1300 users already. Similarly, Sikhism group has 24000 users.
  • LIAFI – This group has been created by the Life Insurance Agents Federation of India. It is used for internal communication within the agents’ community. The group already has 577 members. Similar to the LIC agents, there are many groups started by the Lions Clubs, Rotary Clubs

Similarly, there are varieties of communities – right from religion based to regional groups to people from field of education (e.g. wordstock group)

What’s the common theme among these groups and what are we discussing here?

These are a vertical communities which aren’t really driven by “add friends/scrap other/upload video” features, but are purely need based and information based groups.

Another common theme across these groups are that they are started by individuals who are passionate about certain topics, and can be termed mavens in their respective areas of interest.

Essentially, mobile communities like these represent the mobile version of community platforms like yahoogroups : self-forming, somewhat closed and revolves around specific topics. The only difference from a typical email based y!grp is that it’s delivered on an “always-on” device, i.e. your mobile.

And 2008 will witness more of such mobile communities, where people would just want to get the latest news/updates on topics of their choice on the ubiquitous device.

What do you think? What’s your take on mobile communities? Do you agree that mobile communities will ride the next wave of social networking in India?

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