Croatian-based Five Minutes Group, which has been building social networking and Web 2.0 services since 2006 for clients including Real Networks, Vodafone and Microsoft, has unveiled Shoutem, an iPhone and BlackBerry application that enables users to easily and quickly create their own mobile social networks that are private, targeted to niche groups and location-based. An Android version is due soon.
Shoutem brings together many of the familiar features of existing public platform social networks, but lets users control access, and the look and feel, without the need for any programming or development skills. Networks can be created in just minutes. Shoutem is designed to bring together groups, whether friends, students or communities, or more specialist niches such as sports fans, clubs and events. The Shoutem platform is being used by social networks worldwide.
Shoutem builds on the success of the companys original microblogging tool, which has over 11,000 networks worldwide. The new version adds feature-rich social networking tools such as a camera function and file uploads, and is optimised for mobile and location-based communications.
Five Minutes Group notes that the popularity of social networks has been proven by public platforms such as Facebook, Foursquare and Twitter, but adds that these are open networks, used by hundreds of thousands of users. Shoutem takes a different approach, giving users the tools they need to create their own social networks for smaller numbers of users, quickly and easily. This means that users have full control over the look and feel of the network and who has access, but without the need to develop their own software.
Hussein Yahfoufi has created a social network called NFL Shouts in the US, using Shoutem. He says: There is a lot of NFL presence on Twitter, but its just an open space with no groups. We decided we wanted to have a Twitter-like site but just for the NFL community. I really like Shoutem because it has given us everything we needed to build our site without needing to do our own development.
The mobile function is important to use. Weve seen that the most traffic on NFL Shouts is during football games, so people can connect with each other at the ground. Users can even shout pictures from the game.