Shocker: ‘Little Interest In Operator Social Network’

According to 160Characters, “A study suggests that over 70 percent of social network users said they wouldn’t join a social network launched by their mobile service provider.”

A couple of thoughts here. I’d hoped that by this point, operators have figured out they can’t launch their own walled-garden social services that are only open to their customers. I think they have, to a large extent, as we’re even seeing some operator-based social nets tear down their walls and work together. A phone that could only call or text other phones on the same network wouldn’t be of much value; why would a social network be any different? People don’t choose their friends on the basis of the mobile operator they use.

Second, when the social-networking scene is dominated by extremely popular internet brands (be it Facebook, MySpace or LinkedIn), why would a user want to try to build up and maintain a presence on an mobile-only operator-limited service with a small group of users, as opposed to use their existing social networks on their mobile? The process here shouldn’t be for operators to try to develop or deploy their own networks and steal away users from Facebook or another site; it should be to better integrate the social networks their users are already a part of with the inherent social features of the mobile phone.

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