How Do You Use Your Mobile Phone?

I spent some time on Facebook last night and constructed a short poll, partly to test that feature of the site and to see what the results would be. I asked the single question, "How do you use your mobile phone?"

While the responses are not statistically valid for the entire U.S. marketplace, they are nonetheless interesting and surprisingly consistent with other data and internal estimates that Dan Miller and I have put together.

The range of potential responses to my question (there were 500 respondents) were as follows:

  • I just make calls
  • I mainly text message people
  • I call and text message people
  • I call, text and surf the mobile Internet

Here were the breakdown of responses:

  • I just make calls (10%)
  • I mainly text message people (9%)
  • I call and text message people (68%)
  • I call, text and surf the mobile Internet (14%)

The gender and age breakdown was as follows:

  • Female (91%) -- this is interesting
  • Male (9%)
  • 13-17 (40%)
  • 18-24 (55%) -- the core demographic of Facebook
  • 25-34 (4%)
  • 35-49 (>1%)

What this quick poll reveals is that (no surprise) most younger mobile users are very involved with text messaging but a meaningful number are starting to "surf the mobile Internet." The degree of frequency and engagement with mobile Internet usage will vary considerably but it's clearly growing fast.

If the data above were statistically valid and could be extrapolated to the entire US mobile user population (it cannot), that would mean about 32 million users of the mobile Internet, which is consistent with our estimate. Recently comScore and M:Metrics have put out data showing that, respectively, 17% and 15% of mobile users access Internet content on their phones.

The recent Ingenio-Harris Interactive mobile user survey (which involved US adults 18+) found a smaller number of users of the mobile Internet today (roughly 16.9 million using the same base as above). But many of the 13-17 year olds captured in the Facebook data above, who did "surf the mobile Internet" were not part of the Harris survey. Again, the Facebook data are not statistically valid but directionally interesting nonetheless . . .