Social Mobile meets Facebook

Anyone who reads this blog, or who follows our work with FrontlineSMS, will know there are two main themes which run throughout our work.

First, how do we lower the barriers to entry for NGOs looking to deploy mobile technology in their work? And second, how do we help share information about what mobile means in the developing world to the widest possible audience, i.e. one outside traditional development or technology circles?

A good example of the second theme is our recently-launched “Mobile Message” series running on the National Geographic website. We’re also targeting non-mobile-for-development and non-ICT4D conferences, and contributing chapters to books and giving interviews to magazines which take the message to a new audience. The latest was a piece on mobile innovation for an in-flight magazine for travellers on flights to Africa.

One of our early initiatives was the creation of The Social Mobile Group way back in November 2006. It was the first Facebook group of its kind to focus on the social application of mobiles and mobile technology, and it remains the largest group dedicated to the subject on Facebook today.

In a recent blog post I covered some of the challenges of building “mobile community“, and asked Maddie Grant, a Strategist at SocialFish, to help define it:

What makes a community open is when there’s “a lot more outside the login than inside”, so most of a community’s content must be at least viewable and shareable without logging in. To be active, most of a community’s content must be member (user) generated, not owner-generated, and must have some degree of conversation which includes comments, discussions and reviews

The Social Mobile Group always attempted to do this, and one of its first moves was to appoint Group Officers, handing control and ownership of the group to community members. This has worked well. All of the content and discussion comes from the community, everything is open, and thanks to the efforts of members alone it has organically grown to a membership of just under 3,000 today.

If you’d like to join, visit the Group’s Facebook page. If you’d like to get involved – or help us spread the mobile message – invite your friends, or leave a message on our wall. Our Group Officers would love to hear from you.

28 thoughts on “Social Mobile meets Facebook

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  7. mobilemonkey22 says:

    great group, kenny. thanks for sharing. have you got a link to that airline article? and did you think of working with mobile active on this group? they also have something. thanks!!

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  10. kiwanja says:

    @mobilemonkey22 Thanks – glad you like the post! I’ll take another look at the airline article (we supplied some information and the photos), although I don’t think it’s online at all, which is a shame. With your MobileActive question, we did try to collaborate with them on this group but were met with a barrage of abuse. I’ll leave it at that.

    @Community Channel – Thanks for the link. I’ll take a look. One of my side projects recently has been research into local communities and sustainability, so I might be in touch about that. Cheers.

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