We're fairly sociable as human beings. Mobile phones paved new ways to communicate without wires, far extending the reaches of walkie-talkies and the like. Pulling up the aerial on the brick and making a call was a luxury, but in 2014 almost everyone has a mobile device, be it a smartphone or feature phone. Social networks have also evolved from the personal computer to include mobile devices.
Android, iOS, BlackBerry and Windows Mobile each had apps and light-level integration with social networks, enabling consumers to connect and remain in touch with friends and family, even when not at home. This was a perfect way to add yet more functionality to the phone without having to bloat down the operating system. Times have changed, though. People want even more functionality and features.
When Microsoft released Windows Phone back in 2010, it was the only platform at the time (and still is to a certain degree) to sport true integration with social networks. I say true integration by ways of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn all available at the core level without the requirement for respective apps to be fired up each and every time you wish to connect. This made Windows Phone powerful in the social realm.
But with these social networks came the battle to become the more frequently used option. This entirely (or rather yet, mostly) boils down to which one you prefer on a personal level, as well as what you immediately require in terms of functionality. Each social network of today provides separate features and reach. An interesting tidbit: do you know what term is given to someone who hops between social networks? "Butterflying".
Other networks have been added over time and while they're not directly integrated into the OS, we'll include them in this discussion for arguments sake.
- Twitter: micro-blogging platform, perfect for ranting, connecting, news and light discussions.
- Facebook: the home of friends and family with the ability to remain in contact with lost friends and play Candy Crush.
- LinkedIn: the business hub of the Internet with employees and companies listed for viewing.
- Instagram: for photo fanatics and those who just can't resist taking 'selfies' and publishing to the world.
With Windows Phone 8.1 just around the corner (unless you're rocking the Preview) and social networks adding more features through each official app release, it's an interesting time to be connected to friends and acquaintances through a series of tubes. The People Hub in Windows Phone provides a sweet way to remain updated with the more popular networks, namely Facebook and Twitter.
You can not only receive notifications through the Me Tile for when someone contacts you on either service (or connects via photo tagging, etc) but also see everything in an aggregated view. This is a perfect solution to "butterflying" between multiple networks to stalk your prey... I mean friends. You then have other services such as Reddit, Google and YouTube. The sky's the limit – quite literally. But how can these networks improve with Windows Phone?
Which social network(s) do you use most on your Windows Phone? Sound off your thoughts in the comments, as well as how you'd like to see such services evolve in the near future.