Is Facebook Replacing SMS? | The Communication Blog

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Is Facebook Replacing SMS?

By Sam Hallahan

SMS has long been the dominant means of communication for mobile users and to a large extent the more popular means of all forms of communication. But with the recent rise of social networking giants Facebook, some suggest that the reign of SMS is coming to an abrupt end. Facebook has an impressive growth and user base to its name, but is it really about to topple the days of SMS dominance?

In just over 6 years Facebook has gone from a site run from the dorm of Mark Zuckerberg, to an international corporate icon. User numbers have continued to grow and grow over its short life and it shows no signs of stopping. Current figures suggest around 500 Million users world-wide and such impressive growth attracted the attention of Microsoft as equity stake holders in 2007.

Mobile Facebook users are reported to use their accounts almost twice as much as regular account use and it's simple to see why when we consider that mobiles offer and immediate accessibility to the site allowing for instants status updates and photo sharing with friends. One of the major appeals of Facebook is the exposure it gives users to their friends and people they now. Constantly updated news feeds mean status', photos and other files can be shared with hundreds of people simultaneously.

However, what SMS offers is a much more instant and intimate communication between users. Whilst one can update their page at any time, and anywhere if they are a mobile user, messages that are sent will often require recipients to log into their accounts before they are aware of them. SMS on the other hand is instant and much more personal. It is also far more popular amongst users. Estimates suggest that in 2010 alone SMS figures will exceed 6 trillion and indicate that over the next few years, annual SMS figures will exceed 10 trillion.

So whilst Facebook is a social forum for the masses and displays a rapid growth world-wide in a very short time, it has a long way to go before it can even be considered a contender for replacing SMS. SMS is efficient, fast and personal and in today's world this means it is the most popular choice by far.

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