Opinion: Vodafone gives us an early Christmas pressie and unwraps Social Networking on the move

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Jon_small_new.jpgJonathan Weinberg writes… I saw a quick demonstration of this yesterday and it certainly looks like being a brilliant idea that I hope other mobile networks follow. With Internet prices dropping like stones across all the mobile firms thanks to bundled ‘unlimited’ data and use of social networking growing by the millions in the blink of an eye, it makes sense to match up the two.

Vodafone has designed a downloadable application that sits on your handset connecting you to Facebook, YouTube, MySpace and Bebo. Nothing majorly new there, because you can surf them at present and many have their own download applications too like the excellent Facebook program for Blackberrys.

What I like about this though, is My Communities – as Vodafone calls it – puts it all under one roof, albeit only on two handsets at presents, the Nokia N95 8GB and Sony-Ericsson W910i. Logging in, and choosing whatever icon you want for the network you’re addicted to, you can then upload pictures and videos shot on the phone direct to your social space.

Not only does this add an extra level of interactivity to your networking, it also puts some superb opportunities at your fingertips so rather than simply changing your FB status to let people know what you are up to, they can see for themselves.

The service obviously remembers your login details so you don’t need to type them in every time and if you’re using Voda’s unlimited internet bundle, then the cost is absorbed by that. The firm reckon without it, a picture is around 22p to upload.

If 2007 was the year social networking started to sprout green shoots from the earth of geekdom, then 2008 will certainly see it blossom and flower across the UK into a crucial part of our life we will begin to take as second nature.

Being linked in to it via our mobile phones is a natural progression and one that will only fuel our desire to let our friends and family know where we are, what we’re doing – and ultimately show them minutes after we’ve done it!

Jonathan Weinberg