Staggering Uptake in Digital Media Starts with Mobile Social Networking

26 June 2009

Attended the Potomac Tech Wire’s Digital Media Conference on June 25 and the show didn’t disappoint.  The opening panel excited me the most as predicted numbers around digital TV (DTV) and the uptake in social networks at a mobile level were soaring higher than I, or many others, expected.

During the first panel, in which three analysts were asked to give their top five trends on where they see digital going, CEA analyst Ben Arnold indicated his association has seen a tremendous interest in DTV, much as we’ve seen HDTV take off in recent months. In particular, watching TV from your computer of mobile device is going to be huge among adults.  According to Arnold, 44 percent of adults have already expressed an interest in Net-enabled TV such as Hulu or YouTube. Smartbrief has already posted their piece.

Further, Arnold alluded to the enormous uptake in mobile social media. Over the course of 2008, mobile social networks grew more than 280 percent according to Arnold’s findings – making me feel comfortable knowing I am not alone!

Fellow panelist Michael Zaneis, of the International Bureau of Advertising, seemed to follow the same pattern noting that social media sites, even at a mobile level, are great generators for online advertising.  During our current economic recession, Michael noted that ad spending is the ONLY growing online sector at the moment.

Finally Jay Baage of Digital Media Wire wrapped up the opening stanza with some numbers that had even the most well informed digital media folks surprised. He listed the top 20 social media sites available today, and showed the dramatic mobile uptake in all of them. The most impressive was that of Twitter which was of no real surprise. What was surprising however was the percentage uptake in the site. Twitter users had increased, since the beginning of 2009, by over 2600 percent. Not a typo! Further, despite the incredible push by the iPhone, Jay predicted a surge in mobile widgets and a slow decline of iPhone users.

The conference was heavily attended as over 500 attended the show. It did leave me asking this question: What do you use your mobile device for?

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