April 30, 2007
Social Networking Leaves Confines of the Computer
By BRAD STONE and MATT RICHTEL
SAN FRANCISCO, April 29 — While Walter Zai was in South Africa
watching the wild animals recently, people around the world were
Mr. Zai, a 37-year-old Swiss engineer, used his mobile phone to send
out constant updates and images from his safari for an online audience.
“You feel like you are instantly broadcasting your own life and
experiences to your friends at home, and to anyone in the world who
wants to join,” said Mr. Zai, who used a new online service called
Kyte to create his digital diary.
The social networking phenomenon is leaving the confines of the
personal computer. Powerful new mobile devices are allowing people to
send round-the-clock updates about their vacations, their moods or
their latest haircut.
New online services, with names like Twitter, Radar and Jaiku, hope
people will use their ever-present gadget to share (or, inevitably,
to overshare) the details of their lives in the same way they have
become accustomed to doing on Web sites like MySpace.
Unlike the older networking sites, which are still largely used on
PCs, these new phone-oriented services are bringing the burgeoning
culture of exhibitionism to more exotic and more personal locations.
They are also contributing to the general barrage of white noise and
information overload — something that even some participants say they
feel ambivalent about.
(...) sees each of the world’s hundreds of millions of camera-phone owners as a potential television
“To run a television network used to require expensive cameras, a
satellite connection and studios,” Mr. Graf said. “But the production
costs have gone down to zero. Now you can share your life over a
mobile phone, and someone is always connected, watching.”