Social Networking on the iPhone

It is always amazing to watch the tides of change flow through the world of technology. It seems like just yesterday, e-mail was the big new mode of communication. (Imagine! You can write a letter and send it anywhere in the world…no stamp required.) Then instant messaging came along, but now it doesn’t seem quite instant enough for many users. Social networking is the hot new technology, giving users the ability to communicate instantly with large groups of people.

Today, it isn’t enough to be able to communicate instantly from our computers. We are increasingly dependent on mobile technology and the ability to connect and communicate from wherever we are. E-mail is built into the iPhone and a wide variety of third-party communications apps are available for the device.

When I started exploring the App Store’s Social Networking category, I was struck by the variety of sub-categories it contains. There are dating apps, voice over Internet (VoIP) apps, instant messaging clients, utilities, and more. Instead of attempting a comprehensive review of all of these, this article focuses on the more traditional social networking apps. (Note that I don’t mention any Twitter-related apps—there’s a separate article covering these on page 28.)

The next, great social networking app

I was extremely impressed with the 
iPhone’s ability to handle social networking. Most of these apps are free and come with the important features you need. And as social networking continues to change, new apps (or new versions of these apps) will be developed to bring you those changes.

Facebook, my selection for the Editor’s Choice Award, is the current King of the Hill. But how long it remains there is anyone’s guess. Only time will tell what the next, big social networking trend will be. But when it comes, the iPhone and iPod touch will be ready to handle it—with the help of the next, great social networking app.

Myspace Mobile, Facebook, LinkedIn, Fresh Feed, and Personal Assistant—all on the iPhone
Fall 2009
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