AT&T Inc. announced today the launch of "My Communities," a new downloadable gateway that lets users create and manage multiple social networking accounts through a single dashboard view on their mobile phone. My Communities was developed by Intercasting Corporation, a leading mobile social networking company. The launch coincides with recent data showing that a majority of social networking users maintain multiple accounts and that a growing number are maintaining their social networks primarily by using wireless handsets.
My Communities currently offers a diverse roster of social networks, including MySpace, the mobile-only community Rabble, blogging sites including LiveJournal and Xanga and the photo-sharing site Photobucket. My Communities also features sites whose members share common characteristics such as ethnicity (AsianAve, BlackPlanet, MiGente), faith (FaithBase) or sexual orientation (GLEE). Subscribers get instant access to additional sites as soon as they are added to My Communities and will be alerted to updates when they launch the application -- no upgrade is required. Through My Communities, subscribers can register for social sites directly from their phone without ever having to go to the Web, a feature not common with most other social networking applications.
From an easy-to-use dashboard view, My Communities users can upload photos from their phone, view and respond to new messages, approve and deny friend requests and view and post new comments across multiple sites. Users can alternatively click to enter a specific site for a more customized experience. Updates are synched across mobile and online channels in real time.
Subscribers can also access their phone, camera, media gallery and address book while My Communities is running, which enables them, for example, to upload photos to use on one or more social networks and send site content to phone contacts without closing the application.
"Our social networking applications are among our highest-performing category, and we anticipate sustained interest from consumers as social networks continue to explode in popularity and diversify in purpose," said Mark Collins, vice president of Consumer Products for AT&T's wireless unit. "The My Communities application brings unmatched simplicity, increased functionality and deeper integration to this space, a combination we believe will win over active users and newcomers alike."
John Faith, general manager and vice president of MySpace Mobile, said: "MySpace is dedicated to giving all users access to our global community and creating a deeply engaging mobile experience on AT&T. AT&T's My Communities application from Intercasting provides a new channel for our users to connect with each other in ways that fit their on-the-go lifestyle."
Mobile Social Networking
Mobile social networking is on the rise, with analysts forecasting that more than 800 million people worldwide will access social networks through their mobile phones by 2012, up from 82 million in 2007, according to eMarketer.
"Mobile social networking involves more than just shrink-wrapping social networking sites for the mobile device," says John du Pre Gauntt, senior mobile analyst for eMarketer. "It is one of the best opportunities for the mobile ecosystem to drive mobile Internet use to levels comparable to online Internet use."
The AT&T application builds on Intercasting's robust ANTHEM® platform, which enables wireless carriers the option to provide a host of Web-based community and social networking sites to subscribers. ANTHEM also enables social networking site providers, major brands and entertainment properties to easily create social networking initiatives for the mobile platform. With ANTHEM, AT&T has the ability to quickly launch any social networking site in the future.
"Social networking continues to grow exponentially on the Web, and with so many mobile subscribers, it is clear that we have only seen the tip of the iceberg in mobile social networking," said Shawn Conahan, founder and chief executive of Intercasting. "We are excited to be serving AT&T, MySpace and so many other popular social networking partners to bring a mobile-centric representation of these addictive, popular communities to consumers."
My Communities is available on 23 devices for a monthly subscription of $2.99. It can be downloaded from the AT&T MEdia Mall, accessible via AT&T handsets and online at http://www.att.com/mediamall.