The Relationship between Social Networks and Smartphones

If you missed me at Scholar Day, here’s the whirlwind tour of my 3-semester-long research study.

The Lit Review Highlights


  • From 2007 to 2008 smartphone ownership in the U.S. increased 70%
  • Smartphones have processing power much like computers, run applications and are GPS equipped
  • Smartphones drive a need for real-time information

Social Networks:

  • Facebook usage doubled in 2008, Twitter is the fastest growing website in the U.S.
  • Social networks are culturally valued tools for engagement with the world
  • Social networks are a new method of information distribution

Social Networks Meet Smartphones:

  • Social networks allow for wireless up-to-the second information
  • Smartphones let users upload on social networks without using the website

Smartphone Examples:

–  iPhone

–  BlackBerry

–  Android

–  Windows Mobile

Social Network Examples:

–  Facebook

–  Twitter

– LinkedIn

–  Google Buzz

–  Foursquare

–  MySpace

–  Yelp


Research was conducted through a survey, distributed on social networks. The survey questions explored social networking habits, smartphone usage, satisfaction and how they relate according to the user.


240 people were surveyed

Most popular social network: Facebook

Most popular smartphone:  Android

Interesting Results:

–  15.6% of smartphone users check into locations using the GPS

–  98.7% connect with friends

–  78.5% connect with family

–  45.9% follow a brand, company or organization

–  50.8% do not consider every connection to be a friend

Some Discussion

  • Smartphone ownership did not affect the overall user satisfaction
  • Smartphone users would recommend the use of smartphones to others
  • Seeing another user update from a smartphone does not make them look sophisticated
  • No one pays attention to the phone their friends use on social networks

Limitations of this research:

  • Mostly female respondents
  • Timing and the Verizon iPhone release (Verizon iPhone was released half-way through the survey period)
  • Locations are unknown

Recommendations for Further Study:

  • Overall views of smartphone users. Necessity? Luxury?
  • Level of relationship with social network connections
  • Popularity of using social networks on other devices
  • Perception and motivation for using GPS-related applications

If you want more than the bullets, just ask!

6 thoughts on “The Relationship between Social Networks and Smartphones

  1. This is all really interesting. I remember being puzzled by the question about what I thought of the phones my friends used to check in on social networks… I don’t think I had ever even noticed until the survey pointed it out!

    I know for me one of the “motivators” for using GPS-related apps is to compete with family and friends. I routinely check in to my parents’ house on FourSquare so I can be the mayor… it drives my mom crazy!

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