Get content! 200m downloads in 2 years...

200m downloads? Who is doing that, you say? Who do you reckon? Zed, Jamba, Thumbplay? No, not them. Getjar, a website featuring free mobile phone downloads (and a logo that cries out for a pro) announced that it recorded 200m downloads in 2 years of operation. See? Users do download content, so where's your problem? Well... the downloads are not paid for, you see? This makes for a somewhat warped business model...

So, whilst Getjar would certainly appear to prove that consumers are keen to download content and applications to their phones, it does not prove that they would be willing to pay for it. And with mobile advertising sluggish to make a commercially meaningful impact (at least from developers' point of view) that is somehow not so good really... Better then the Jamba's et al as they at least make money from it and pay their developers.

Congratulations to the good folks from Getjar anyhow. I hope at least you guys got a good numbers of clicks on your Google apps...

iTunes the largest music retailer

Not really mobile but at least digital and interesting in any event: a news release has it that Apple's iTunes had overtaken mighty Wal-Mart as the US' largest retailer of music. Best Buy was ranked third and Amazon.com and Target tied for the fourth spot in January and February, it is reported.

iTunes apparently sold more than 4 billion tracks since its launch in 2003. The survey counted every 12 digital downloads as one CD but excluded mobile music sales. Apple claims more than 50 million customers. This is a rather impressive development: They sold around 25m tracks in 2003, surpassed the 1bn mark only 3 years later and hit 3bn in July2007.

Twitter's pains & (chance of) gains

I have been dealing with Jaiku and Twitter, the micro-blogging machines, a lot recently (see here, here and here). Today though, I stumbled across an article that put a rather different twist to it, and it makes you wonder... The piece is written by a mother of 3 daughters who tries to use Twitter as a mass communication tool (broadcast SMS) only to be utterly frustrated as none of her "super-communicating" daughters takes it up - too complicated, too onerous, too cumbersome, too - as one academic has it - surveillance-style.

Now, is that so? It would counter my (borrowed) argument of the intrinsic attraction of objects to social circles around such objects. It doesn't seem to work with daughters though... Well, I wonder: The mom, a tech-savvy NY Times journalist, tries to put Twitter to a use, namely to shorten communication with her 3 daughters (no need to having to tell each of them - separately - that she is on the way to XYZ). However, the object of interest to each of the daughters is very different to the ones of the others (cardigan, pizza, shopping, ...). So, no stumbling block after all: Twitter, et al are for people who group around a common object, which must be of common interest (e.g. the status and availability of black cardigans in the NY youth scene), not around one that only seems to be common (mom). Mom only happens to be at a point of interlinking circles, different objects that all touch her; she is not - at least not in the examples elaborated upon in the article - the central object herself.

Adoption-wise, this does of course not make things easier as the Twitters of this world need to migrate user behaviour: fans of Cheshire golf clubs or the NY indie music scene, Parisian vernissage goers and Seattle jazz fans will all have had ways to communicate prior to Twitter's entry on stage; they need to be convinced that this is a superior tool to keep the community buzzing. And because there is slightly less vanity space involved (Twitter doesn't allow you nearly as much room to put your wares on display), the communication bit must be utterly compelling to pull people across. It is the only USP the concept has. And this explains why the take-up is not as quick as for other social media: this is the raw core of it, and the simple truth is - as we know never simple.

I am hopeful though that they'll find a way: object-centered sociality is the way!