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The 2011 Social Media Tidal Wave

Meteoric. Global. Mobile.

These are just a few adjectives that can describe the amazing growth of social networking in 2010 — culminating in Mark Zuckerberg being named TIME's “Man of the Year.” Facebook surpassed 500 million global users in 2010, developing an Internet "social graph" that includes 200 million mobile users and 350 million users outside the United States.

Similarly, Twitter surpassed 200 million unique visitors, (with almost 100 million mobile users) , each of whom use Twitter to maintain their own "interest graph" on the topics near and dear to their hearts.

Latest Trend: Multimedia Explosion

Yet one key trend has gone relatively unnoticed amidst this massive growth. And it is going to have a transformative effect on our wireless devices and networks in 2011.

Namely, it is the rise of social networking as a multimedia discovery vehicle. At a conference I attended, multiple content providers noted that social media is rapidly accelerating the discovery of their multimedia content. In fact, Twitter recently announced that 25% of Tweets contain a multimedia link. Furthermore, this graph from a 2010 TubeMogul report shows that Facebook and Twitter last year became the fast-growing mechanisms for video discovery

Video Referral Graph

Industry-Changing “Hyper-Virality”

The impact of social media’s viral multimedia growth will be enormous. Social media has already propelled the gaming industry in a new direction. (For example Zynga – a social networking startup - is now believed to be worth more now than Electronic Arts!)

Multimedia appears to be next. The common denominator of these disruptions has been "hyper-virality," which can best be explained in comparison to email. As an example, if you get a funny video via email, you might virally send it to a few friends; but if you get a funny video via social network, you might send it to hundreds or even thousands of people in your entire social or interest graph — an exponential difference in virality that can be best described as "hyper-virality!”

With nearly half of social networking usage coming via the mobile device (46% at Twitter, 40% at Facebook) , this viral multimedia explosion will have a massive impact on mobile devices and networks everywhere in 2011.

Qualcomm — Connecting You Via Device and Network Readiness

At Qualcomm, we are incredibly excited about these hyper-viral multimedia trends. As the global leader in next-generation mobile technology, our mission is to connect you — wherever you are in the world. Towards that end, I lead a product group called Magic Link that renders multimedia on any device type in a client-less fashion. We are particularly excited about the rapidly growing emerging markets, where we are working to enable users to discover digital multimedia for the first time on their mobile devices via social networking.

On the networking end, Qualcomm is also delivering ground-breaking solutions to effectively weather this multimedia onslaught. Stay tuned for an article from my colleague, Prakash Sangam, on this topic soon!

All in all, the way we discover, consume and share multimedia is about to be drastically transformed in 2011. Socially and hyper-virally.

Note: I will be at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this February. Please contact me if you would like to meet up there!

sdeshpande@qualcomm.com
Twitter: @sdesh

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Sources:
http://www.facebook.com/press/info.php?statistics
http://www.tubemogul.com/research/report/34
http://blog.twitter.com
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/twitter/8016062/Twitter-building-interest-graph-to-target-users.html
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