Monday, February 25, 2008

Fast Pitch! Mobile - Who Cares?

Fast Pitch! Mobile ???

Now I’ll be honest, I’ve never really felt the need to promote Fast Pitch! as a mobile application (yet) partly because I see very little reason for people to want to access Fast Pitch! from their phone. I mean, let’s be serious… how many of you have the urgency to access your Fast Pitch! account while 'on the go'? My guess is .0001% of you.

Conecptually, is it a cool idea? Sure.
Is it practical? Not Really.

So, what’s the big deal about other larger networks' mobile applications?

Absolutely nothing.

Here's what you can (or can't) do with current mobile apps on some of the larger networks:

  1. Access Your Profile (Note: you cannot edit your profile)
  2. Access Your Contacts (Note: you cannot communicate with your contacts).
  3. Search Profiles (Note: you cannot invite new contacts to connect).
  4. International Language Support (You can read profiles in Spanish, German, English and French)
  5. Invite new friends to Join.

    (Click Image to Enlarge)

I especially like #5. If you read between the lines, some of the larger networks allow you to use their mobile application to in essence, SPAM your friends… but when it comes to actually networking and communicating with people already on their network, that’s currently a no-no. So in other words, current mobile applications have very little to do with adding value to your business… but instead has more to do with making it easier for you to help the larger networks grow their business. Like Charles Barkley said, “I May Be Wrong But I Doubt It.”

After reading through all the hype I decided to take a closer look at the current Fast Pitch! mobile experience from the perspective of a Fast Pitch! user... keeping in mind the fact that we’ve never really taken mobile devices into consideration when updating the website.

Surprisingly, the Fast Pitch! mobile experience was relatively useful!

Here’s a summary of what I found:

Our navigation sets up real well on the Blackberry Curve and the iPhone. Our header, tabs and icons let our users quickly access every single Fast Pitch! feature available on the website (with the exception of our new LIVE CHAT). Not only can you update and edit your profile (including your resume) but you can also send messages to other members, invite other members to join a group, check your inbox, accept or decline invitations and more. In fact, our users can also post press from their mobile phone, promote an event, upload photos, embed videos, post classifieds and even upgrade their membership directly from the mobile device. Oh… and if you want to invite your friends to get them to join Fast Pitch! – knock yourself out.

Now, I’ll be brutally honest… would I personally do any of this from my Blackberry? Probably not. Unless The Drudge Report, Tech Crunch and CNN all go down at the same time and I’m left with nothing else to do, I might access my Fast Pitch! account. Otherwise, I'll probably just wait until I am back in front of my computer.

Don't let my negativity mislead you... I'm actually as intrigued as anyone about the future of mobile applications. For example, once the major wireless carriers begin to allow social networks the ability to integrate GPS systems into their platforms, you'll start to see social (business) networks like Fast Pitch! play a crucial role in transforming networking as we know it. Many networks will be able to facilitate impromptu face-to-face meetings based on geography and shared interests. (see my previous post Fast Pitch! 2010).

Until then, who cares?

Bill

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