The mobile social network takeover
We live in a technology driven world, there's no point disputing that. Almost everyone has a cell phone these days, and many of those phones are smart phones. With that amount of information at your fingertips, it would be foolish not to take advantage of this opportunity to use mobile social networking to grow your business. According to PewResearch, 91% of adults have cell phones. Even more astonishing, 56% of those adults have smart phones. That means approximately 51% of all adults have a smart phone, and therefore have the entire Internet in their pocket. That makes the cell phone "the most quickly adopted consumer technology in the history of the world." Think about that for a second. If cell phones are so widely used and widely adopted, it is safe to assume that all of your demographics are covered. We may have finally found a unifying human experience. So how do you take advantage of that?
Mobile social networking is just one of many facets of our culture that has been shaped or shifted by the surge in cell phone usage. Where email or a lunch date used to be the norm, now it's a text message or FaceTime. Our cell phones free up a lot of time just by making communication faster, more efficient, and more flexible. You no longer have to be near a computer, or even near a building, to get caught up on the goings on in the office. Where a business letter used to be comprised of an inner address, formal salutation, subject line, paragraphs of proper language, and closing remarks, a business text is stripped down to the necessary information.
Mobile social networking has changed the process of conducting business at its core. With many companies adopting internal social networks, such as Yammer, or using external ones like Facebook and Google+, there is a noticeable change in the productivity and camaraderie. Communication takes place in real time, with rapid delivery and rapid response, and the exchange of ideas is streamlined. It's easy for an entire team of people to collaborate over a document, share ideas, and exchange updates from anywhere.
Drawing the line
Now we all know how important it is not to bring work home. There's a fine line between accessible anywhere and accessible any time. Mobile social networking makes it easier to unplug without disconnecting. You don't have to get out your computer to sift through 50 emails when you can see all of your communications simply displayed in a single space. It's like a drive thru window of communication that you're carrying in your pocket.
Beyond social media and the ability to be constantly connected, mobile social networking changes the way we meet new people and mingle. Many people forget that social networking isn't restricted to the Internet, it's been around as long as humans have been using connections to move up in the world. So now when you're out with a client and you meet a new connection, instead of exchanging physical addresses on a business card, you're much more likely to exchange social media information or a phone number (for texting purposes, most likely). The entire practice of networking has become more relaxed, more natural, and frankly less formal.
Are there negative impact of mobile social networking? Of course there are. Anytime you shift the way business is conducted there are faults. Some businesses are resistant to mobile social networking, choosing to stand by tried and true communication traditions. Some businesses try too hard to push new methods of social networking only to discover it doesn't meet their business need or suit their company culture. Then of course there's the need for reeducation. If you move your company to an internal social network in an attempt to eradicate email, you'd probably better make sure that everyone is trained on the appropriate practices and has the necessary equipment. There will be some trial and error, as with any undertaking, but the freedom to communicate anywhere is certainly worth the wait.