Mobile phones were designed to keep you connected, albeit initially by simply making telephone calls while away from your landline telephone.
Now people are increasingly interacting though online social networks, such as Facebook, so mobile phone friendly versions of these networks have sprung up to keep you stay socially connected as you go about your daily business.
Social networks take several forms. Some are basic websites - such as Twitter - on which you tell others in just a few words what you’re doing, thinking, eating, watching, etc.
Others are more complicated - like Facebook - because they let you do everything from tell people what you’re currently doing to posting pictures, forming online groups and organising events.
This guide will focus on the three biggest social networks: Facebook, MySpace and Twitter.
Since most social networks are crammed with features, which we will come to, cut-down versions have been created to make access by mobile phone over a wireless connection less painful.
Some social networks also have dedicated downloadable smartphone applications. The app lets you perform all your social tasks as though you were accessing the site from you PC.
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Facebook has both a mobile friendly website (http://m.facebook.com/) and a free to download smartphone application.
Four core elements make up Facebook:
MySpace also has a dedicated mobile-friendly version (http://m.myspace.com) of its main website and a free downloadable smartphone application.
There aren’t many differences between MySpace and Facebook, in terms of features. Which network you opt for will probably be determined by which one the majority of your friends use.
While using MySpace from your mobile you can: send and receive e-mail style messages, update your “mood” - just like Facebook’s News Feed feature, browse photo albums and search for friends.
Twitter is the simplest social networking site of the trio, making accessing it from your mobile phone extremely easy. The site has a dedicated mobile phone friendly website (http://mobile.twitter.com/) and smartphone application.
You have “followers” on Twitter instead of friends. Most followers will be your friends, but others could be as bizarre as The Guardian newspaper, actor/technology addict Stephen Fry or even Bill Gates.
You have 140 characters to play with and can say whatever you want. Tell someone what you’re doing, where you are or post a website link.
Messages - officially called “Tweets” on Twitter - from your followers are displayed in the same time-stamped list used by Facebook’s News Feed.