Monday, 9 April 2012

The Latest Trend: Social Networking, Mobile Commerce


If 10 years ago someone asked you to join on with Facebook and become a partner, would you do it? Mark Zuckerberg’s roommate had the option but declined. Right now, everyone is trying to get a piece of Facebook once they become a public company valued at 10 billion dollars.

What if in 1995 when the Internet was just getting started and someone asked you to join Amazon, would you do it? 17 years later, they are a multibillion dollar company posting record sales and growth.

These two sites caught on to an early trend, the Internet. Back in the 90s, it used to be an exclusive privilege, one that those who had it found very frustrating. Not being able to use a household phone and the Internet at the same time was a common complaint, but also the speed of the network was unbearably slow. However, if you invested in Amazon when it was worth $1.50 a share and cashed in when it reached its high of 246.71, you could have potentially made a 16400% gain in a matter of approximately 15 years. Pretty amazing if you ask me.

Like all trends, it appears that Amazon seems to have reached its pinnacle and now is on the decline. Its release of the Kindle has not been very successful as it has been competing with Apple’s iPad for the market. However, these past 5 or 6 years have been the prime of Internet expansion. I remember the days when people, such as parents and friends, told me that putting credit card information on Internet shopping websites would lead to your information being stolen and such various rumors. Now days, people have multiple credit cards signed up on different websites, and everyone checks the box, “I have read and understood the terms and conditions,” without ever reading the terms and conditions. Clearly, the Internet is in its prime as millions of people blindly trust online websites with their privacy and require it for almost any everyday activity.

Looking forward, I see growth and expansion in the mobile industry. If you observe people today, what are two things that they always turn to with free time? Facebook, or their cell phone. What do people go on when they open their cell phones? Facebook. The power of Facebook is completely underestimated. When Jeremy Lin became a star, I didn’t find it on the news first; at least 20 Facebook statuses informed me about him. Similarly with the smartphone industry, the use of the Internet from phones has exponentially grown as companies such as AT&T have to limit the amount of data people can access from their phones. The once prized unlimited data plan is now being capped at a certain level, and people who exceed the limit will be penalized.

Because of the recent explosion in social networking sites and use of applications on smartphones, it appears that the next big trend will be with mobile commerce and Facebook commerce. Zynga has already integrated itself on iPods, Androids, and Facebook, while other companies shift gears to target the 800 million subscribers of Facebook. Imagine a shopping website where one can have a credit card stored on Facebook and a cell phone to shop from. You don’t have to be sitting at home for this, nor do you have to take trips to stores on your way back home. While sitting in class or at a meeting, people can press a few buttons and buy whatever they need and want. That’s powerful.


By Kunal Agrawal

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