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Effects of Social Media and IM platforms to Mobile Phone SMS

It is now time to get back to work, no more honey moons, parties have ended and 'business as usua'l is the word on every one's mind.

Before we get back to business, what happened before this 'business as usual'? Christmas and New year celebrations among the 'Christ believing' groups as well as those who celebrate this long holiday. Blogging had a little been paused and a good number of office mails had stopped. But one thing that never reduced, may be increased in usage was social media, in particular facebook and twitter. People have shared stories, wished each other happy and joyful holidays, shared pictures, arranged and organized parties, shared party photos and comments all on social media and hey some IM chart platforms.

Christmas in Uganda and, am sure other parts of the world has been a time when families and friends remember each other, get together and celebrate a lot of things, among others, the birth of Christ and coming to the end of a calender year. Since when I was a kid, we used to gather as a family and enjoy every one's bonding. Those days, there was no mobile communication and it was real messengers and writing letters to distant relatives and friends to wish them happy holidays.

Things went on changing and, as the steam engine changed the industrial processes greatly, the emergence of mobile phones in the country redefined the way we celebrate the bonding we have with other people. It ended the era of sending messengers and writing letters and started a time of sending short message to wish our loved ones happy celebrations. I strongly remember when I received close to 100 text messages all wishing me a merry Christmas and happy new year. Sending short text messages was the order of the day and if someone never sent you one, it meant a lot about your relationship.

Fast forward, we all finally move onto the bandwagon of Internet, where almost every one has a social media account. Facebook being the lead network. By the 21st of December 2012, people had started mentioning Christmas and December holidays and merry messages had started flying over the social network. Friends and family wished each other the best of the holidays and December being a month of parties, I saw a number of notifications about where & when to be during this holiday, still on facebook. Not forgetting IM accounts, once in a while you would get a chart message from  friends wishing you happiness through the holidays and I have to confess, I didn't receive more than five text messages on my phone. With all the cut-throat competition in the mobile telephone business, where some companies offer free SMS* once you load certain amount of credit, and others offer purchase of SMS bundles for very low amounts, it is at this point in time when one should receive multitude of messages. To the surprise, it was not the reality.

When I sat down to think about the cause, I came up with this analogy that people's lives are shifting to social networks and forgetting the good in the conventional mobile telephone services. What does this then mean?

I envision a time when all communication save for the voice calls, is channeled through twitter, IM, facebook and other social networks. I think this is so because, with social networks, you reach out to many people irrespective of the geographical boundaries, virtually for almost no cost as compared to what it would take to send a message across boarders. Further more, with the social networks, I can reach out to all my contacts with the press of one button, which is something not easy to do with mobile SMS. You might need to store all phone contacts of people and send out to all people not forgetting the other limitations of SMS like the message size.

I wouldn't want to be pessimistic but people intending to invest in mobile SMS content business should have this in mind.

SMS*   Short Message Service

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Comment by Stephanie on January 7, 2013 at 9:37am

I agree with you Tom, the evolution of technology has walked us past the SMS era. Maybe, in this day and age of fast-paced technology, it was time after all... I recently learned that SMS has been around for 20 years (Mary's blog post: Happy anniversary SMS). I have to agree with your friend's comment too: cost and efficiency makes a difference. With SM, we can communicate instantly, with fewer concerns about pending messages or late delivery (unless our accounts are compromised!). Plus, there is such a wide and diverse range of services on social media platforms that the move might have been inevitable. I wonder how social media will look like in 20 years...

Comment by Mayengo Tom Kizito on January 6, 2013 at 8:39am

A friend of mine on FB mentioned some good points: I cannot paraphrase them but report them!
"That analysis is right. social media saves us a lot of hassles- think about unsent or pending messages after ya money has been deducted and finally not delivered in time. I love the message space more---no limits, u just do it ya self"

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