Social media goes mobile – French bloggers conference part “Un”

Yesterday I attended our second “bloggers” conference in Paris at La Cantine, a unique collaborative workspace and focal point in France for IT 2.0. Luckily, for those who couldn’t attend the event was videoed (link coming soon), unluckily, for most of you, it was all in French, luckily I speak the language of Sartre, Baudelaire and Johnny Hallyday so here’s my account of the interactive debate.

The conference looked at how the mobile has created a social revolution in every country around the world and in particular in developing countries where there was little previous infrastructure. It was split into 3 themes – mobile social media use, mobile payment and mobile healthcare. In this post I’ll focus on the most zeitgeist of them all – social media.

As you opened this post after putting down your smartphone from updating your status on Facebook, you’ll be unsurprised to hear that social media has been the biggest driver of mobile Internet traffic. Christophe Romei, from ServicesMobiles.fr, our moderator for the evening, showed us that Twitter, Facebook and YouTube are the top 3 consumers of mobile bandwidth.  For Christophe it all started in 2007, crediting the boom in mobile data on the arrival of the iPhone with its useful, abundant and easy-to-use services (Apps). However, Xavier Larduinat, Gemalto’s MC for the evening, felt that the plaudits should be shared with the network providers for putting in place the 3G networks needed to deliver the mobile web.

At La Cantine, a French start-up hotbed, we shared the evening with an audience wielding iPads, laptops and smartphones and it was easy to forget that most of the world’s 5 billion mobile users don’t have internet in their pocket. Although it doesn’t stop them loving Social Media.

This isn’t ignored by the market mammoth, Facebook, who has put in place a strategy for taking their social network to every type of person with any mobile model according to Alexandre Szyda, from Gemalto’s Telecom business. A few years ago social networks were a diverse and often local affair, however by 2011 we’d seen the planet turn blue with only China, Russia and Brazil still resisting with local platforms like QZone and Orkut.

Many of us are used to accessing Facebook on the move as an iPhone or Android app but their success in emerging economies can be put down to strong operator and handset partnerships along with stripped down SMS versions or lite apps for the most basic phones. The next phase of this strategy was Facebook for SIM, announced with us at this year’s Mobile World Congress and potentially available to 100% of GSM phones.

The tweeting was fast and furious on the event hashtag #ConfGemalto with our most active Tweeter @PierreMetivier supplying some great insights along with the top scoop of the evening – 3 out of the 5 speakers were avid Angry Birds players!

Thanks to all of our participants and @lacantine for the great event and watch this space for the next posts on the rest of the evening featuring Mobile Payments and Mobile Health.

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