Despite the widespread use of internet-ready mobile phones, a considerable proportion of the British and American populations are reluctant to use their mobile phones to access or update their social networking sites.
A survey commissioned by Volantis Systems, involving both UK and US mobile phone users, found that of the 95% who own a mobile handset, a clear majority (60%) had internet-ready phones, but a considerable one third (33%) of these claimed that they did not use their mobile internet. Only 13% of those who use their mobile phones to connect to the internet do so every day, including connecting to social networking sites.
However it would be wrong to assume that lack of mobile phone internet usage necessarily means that users are not interested in using internet sites, such as the popular social networking hubs like Facebook or Bebo. A survey on behalf of Colibria found that 30% of 18 to 24 year old Britons spend an average of more than five hours a week on social networking sites and 60% of all mobile phone owners with internet-ready handsets say that they use social networking sites in some form.
It seems that users are simply satisfied with logging on through their computers, as 42% claim that they would not be interested in updating their social network profile, or profiles, in the case of those with multiple accounts, via their mobile phone.
Barriers to browsing
When asked what the greatest barriers were to browsing the internet on their mobiles, 32% said that they felt too-slow network speeds were a problem. Just over half (51%) state that they would only be willing to spend around three minutes looking for a certain piece of information. This suggests that if social networking sites are serious about getting more people logging on via their mobiles, they need to improve the usability of their ‘mobile version’ websites, and network operators need to provide adequate network speeds to allow people to access such sites quickly.