User-Generated Content and Social Communities Go Mobile
The Proliferation of User-Generated Content and Social Communities
User-generated content (UGC) and social communities have become dominant Web features (Web 2.0). Their growing influence and implications in our daily lives are becoming more apparent daily.
The participatory direction of the Web manifests itself in a myriad of highly popular phenomena such as You Tube, Wikipedia, Flickr, Digg and much more.
UGC is supplementing and even supplanting “professional” content in much of our daily routine. From product reviews to funny videos, from reference encyclopedias to special events footage, we are turning to content created and published on the Web by our peers. This new world feeds on the cooperative efforts of the masses – tens of millions of talented people who contribute their knowledge, creativity and time for us to read, watch, listen and enjoy.
Another form of UGC is “Web logging,” commonly known as “blogging.”
Used by teens and company CEOs alike, a blog is a simple and immediate tool allowing people to publish their thoughts and experiences, often accompanied by pictures, for small or large audiences of viewers to read and see. This phenomenon has been fueled by the ubiquitous nature of always-at-hand high-quality cameras on mobile phones.
In addition to watching the world on YouTube and searching for reference information on Wikipedia, many of us have begun gathering around virtual “campfires” or Social Communities. Sites like MySpace, Blogger and Facebook are virtual shared spaces to meet new and old friends, get their updates, watch their pictures and videos, chat and more.
UGC and social community sites have managed to conquer cyberspace. Currently half of today’s 10 most-visited Web sites are UGC-based: YouTube, MySpace, Orkut, Wikipedia and Facebook. Add addictive multiple-user games and virtual reality games, like World of Warcraft and Second Life, and it is clear that people are investing enormous amounts of energy, time and money in Web 2.0 activities.
Web 2.0 Leads to Mobile 2.0
What is useful and enjoyable on the PC is likely to also be useful and enjoyable away from the PC, which is why Web 2.0 is paving the way for Mobile 2.0. People want to be able to continue participating in many of their favorite Web pursuits, passions or addictions (depending on your point of view) wherever they go. The closer handsets and networks get to delivering a PC-like experience, the more mobile carriers are finding that they can cash in on new streams of traffic and activity on their networks.
Some interesting examples in the field of mobile UGC and Social Communities include:
Facilitating the Brave New World of Mobile UGC and Social Communities
- SeeMeTV: This YouTube-like UGC service lets H3G users upload cool and funny videos to the mobile portal to be browsed and downloaded by other users as premium content. SeeMeTV is popular, and results in millions of paid downloads.
- Blogger.com: Blogger.com, part of the Google family, also features a mobile version of the site, allowing users to interact with blogs while on the move.
- MOKO: This mobile-only social community lets users upload a picture or video and start a “chat room.” The chat rooms can be browsed and visited on mobile devices by MOKO members. There are more than 50,000 paying MOKO users in H3G UK alone.
- Facebook Mobile: In order to allow mobile users optimal access, this leading social community has invested significant resources in a mobile version of their site that retains the “look and feel” over WAP as well as iPhones
As mobile UGC and social communities gain popularity, network operators strive to make them available to their “on the go” subscriber base in ways that are as easy as using SMS.
Traditionally, the integration of Application-To-Person (A2P) services into a mobile network was not an easy feat. Applications have to be able to send and receive messages through the network’s SMS and MMS delivery engines, as well as integrate with the billing and prepaid systems. Once applications have been deployed, their use of network resources has to be monitored and managed, guaranteeing proper quality of service for all P2P and A2P services alike.
These time-consuming tasks have raised the complexity of new service integration to the point that mobile operators now ask themselves with each additional service:
“Is this worth the integration effort?”
The Comverse Messaging Gateway™ facilitates the development and growth of Mobile 2.0 by serving as a single point of network integration, management and control for all third-party messaging sources and applications. New services added simply through open HTTP interfaces immediately gain access to the network’s messaging, management and billing resources – thereby increasing speed and ease of deployment, and profitability of new services.
As users seek mobile access to an ever-growing number of UGC sources and social communities, the Comverse Messaging Gateway allows for unprecedented network openness while streamlining integration and management.
Prepare for the brave new world of mobile UGC, social communities, and perhaps other things that we have not yet even dreamed of.
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