As a big fan (an avid user!) of the Social Network platform, I’m still a bit back in the 90’s. I loved MSN Messenger and Yahoo Messenger, but I loathe its lack of social interplay and ease of use that Social Networks allow, giving me another reason to hate FB aside from the fact Jamaicans are apparently hooked on it as noted earlier in Jamaica’s Low Net Penetration – Broadband Internet A Universal Right.
The fact that FB could also be fostering Social Network Prostitution did not sit well with me either, prompting another article in which I postulated the obvious in Social Network Prostitution: FOMO drives Millennials to “Inboxing”. Still, at least we have Social Farming as noted in Farmville Jamaica Live heralds the rise of Social Farming. Along with other development in the Farming World pushing towards Solar may herald a return of Millennials (ages 18 to 28) to take an interest in a Career in Agriculture as hoped for in Solar Powered Organic Farming – Sustainable Agricultural Development and Jamaica’s Food Security. So Facebook isn’t evil; it just makes you idle.
However, one thing that these earlier predecessors of Social Network had that I missed in FB and has caused me angst was the use of Emoticons. 🙁
As much as Social Networking has pictures (worth 1000 words, so they say!!), Emoticons allow you to express you facial features to add more meaning to whatever you happened to belch out on FB so early in the morning as you type. To this end, Facebook has upgraded themselves with a throwback to the past by allowing Emoticons in chat and on Wall posts. 🙂
The commands are slightly different, but for me the 90’s Nostalgia of using Emoticons is enough to satiate my loathing of FB despite the slight difference in commands. It’s a small change, but it makes FB that more exciting a place to hang out where everybody knows you name, Cheers Style!
But more importantly, this minor change is an indication that Facebook is getting serious about Mobile , as only on those smaller smartphone Screens with users clutching coffee in one hand pressed for time does the ability to bang out emoticons in your FB posts becomes important. And so it seem I’m right, as Facebook’s VP of Mobile partnerships and Corporate Development Vaughan Smith has announced that they’ll be putting more focus on Mobile, with its Software Engineers retooling to focus on develop and maintain their Mobile Apps so as to make FB more smartphone and Tablet centric.
Less focus on the continued development of their HTML 5 desktop-centric website, they’ll be seeking to take advantage in the explosion of smartphone usage worldwide as suggested by their recently released stats that indicate 1 billion active users monthly, 600 million of which are Mobile.
And there’s plenty of stats to justify their decision for a shift of focus. Half of the computer sales within the US of A since January 2012AD have been Mobile Phones according to Kevin C. Tofel a reporter at GigaOM. Nielsen Stats from February in the First Quarter of 2012 indicating 50% of Mobile-savvy Americans own smartphones. Analyst ComScore brings the boom with stats that indicate that of that market 50% are Google Android phones.
Globally, smartphone usage stands at 1.04 billion active subscribers, up by 81 million active users from the 959 million smartphones in the Second Quarter of 2012AD. This is represents a 41.8% increase on the figure of Total Active Users of smartphones of 708 million for all of 2011AD.
Clearly smartphone usage globally is not only growing, but it’s exploding. And Jamaica is no exception, with Jamaicans ditching BB left right and center for Apple iPhones and Google Android powered smartphones such as Samsung Galaxy SIII as noted in Apple iPhone boosts Jamaican smartphone usage as BB goes Chapter 11 Bankruptcy.
And as if that was not a canary enough for you or a bellwether for the coming future of computing, the same trend is popping up in Tablets. Not only are 25% of smartphone users most likely owners of a Tablet (Apple iPad, Anyone!) but Tablet shipments could hit 117 million units globally this year according to Analyst IDC in September 2012, an increase on the estimates by fellow analyst ABI of 100 million units by some 17 million units. Bereft of actual figures, we’ll know the “full 100” come the first Quarter of 2013ADafter the tinsel has faded and the reality of the New Year has dawned upon use yet again.
The numbers are a bit shaky and I do stand on rather shaky statistical ground, I will concede, but the projections by Forrester analyst Sarah Rotman that 1 in 3 Americans will be Tablet zombies by 2016AD should not be taken lightly either just because they are projections. In fact I considered them so serious I am now predicting the death of Desktop PC’s, Laptops, Printers and Mouse in by 2015AD in How the Apple iPad killed Ultrabooks, Printing and the Mouse as the World Rediscovers Tablets.
Clearly the move to Mobile was inevitable, as earlier in May 2012 Facebook and launched an App Store and hired former Apple iPhone designers and then an App Center, suggesting strongly at the continued development of a Facebook smartphone by 2013AD.
His words expressed this shift noticed by the Blogging community and the Media at a recently concluded Global mobile Internet Conference in San Jose, California. At the confab, he gave investors in the audience the assurance that they are focusing on Mobile as a means of promoting growth in the company’s bottom line, quote: “Since the start of this year, if you turned up at a product review and you showed anything other than mobile at the start and the bulk of the presentation, you’d be asked to go back and do it again. So we’ve pivoted our thinking to be, ‘how can we create the right mobile experience first and the desktop can catch up later.”
This development means that Facebook is not sitting down and taking Google “Box’ bread outta dem mout” as by committing to Mobile, they can avoid being “Bad-minded” by Google’s Search Engine platform in favour of Google + as noted in Chrome 16 beats Firefox and IE8 –Mozilla going Mobile and Cloud OS on Smartphones, Tablets and UltraBoooks.
So here’s to FB finally waking up an’ winking us all with this introduction of Emoticons, to show that they do indeed care about Mobile 😉 There’s even special one like Nyan Cat and Pikachu for all y’all that like felines.
This may also herald the start of FB monetizing customized Emoticons which smartphones users can pay to design and customize in one-click purchases and usage on their smartphones. Customer can then make back their money by sponsoring ads i.e. every time someone comments on their posts that has customized Emoticons, a contextual ad is displayed for which the user may be paid per click and per display. So you’ll have something to smile about every time you post 🙂
So here’s the full list (free for now!!?) for you to “full”-joy 😀
Twitter, where are you on this one 😕 Twitter is still an Emoticon-less 120 character tweets World, which is now on even par with FB being as both of them are now Natively coded into iOS 6.0 that lives on the Apple iPhone 5. They too are in danger as the Mobile Computing World Grows and they still have no strategy for monetizing this explosion in Mobile Computing Globally.
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