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Live from CTIA Wireless IT and Entertainment Expo: Social Media and Mobile

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Social Media

Today’s guest post is from Doug Naegele, founder of An avid SmartBrief on Social Media reader and inveterate entrepreneur, Doug is attending the CTIA Wireless IT and Entertainment Expo. He wrote in late last night with this update from Day 1.

Social networking and mobile technology have been intertwined with other forms of mass media for years. American Idol kicked off the trend, as 7.5 million votes were sent via text the year it premiered. This past season, the show received 178 million texts.  In 2008, Barack Obama’s presidential campaign brought mobile and social even closer, using text messages to deliver campaign updates and connect with voters.

Now everyone wants to know: “What’s the next big thing?” Chris Parandian, CEO of Tin Can Communications, set out to find some answers, as he moderated a panel titled, “Social Networking –- Entertainment or Essential?”

The program’s five panelists provided five very different visions of the future for social media and mobile technology, including: social gaming, asynchronous gaming, augmented reality, improved phone functionality and networks that encompass all mobile devices. All agreed that apps and mobile Web sites that aggregate all your feeds into one place are imminent; four out of five panelists launched an aggregation product in the last six months.

Free or paid?

When I asked the panel “Will social networks continue to be free?”. Most panelists agreed that they would, although one pointed out that photo sites are charging for storage and suggested that other social sites might someday follow suit. Most agreed there was room to charge for some premium services, but that standard, consumer use would remain free.

Location, Location, Location

The biggest buzz about the future of mobile and social centered on location-based services, however. Using mobile phones with GPS-tracking capabilities to send location data to social networks will have a broad impact on how social media is used. Current applications, such as Foursquare and Loopt, share your whereabouts with other users. But panelists said they could envision a day when social networks formed around locations in real time, so that a user could attend a NASCAR race and join that day’s social network.