Why should we expect more from our usual social media mobile platforms? Well, why not?

Without feedback, preferences, and usage patterns, companies like Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare wouldn’t be connecting us on a daily basis.

In 2012 however, we should expect a contextual experience from these sites – desktop and mobile alike.

By having accounts and logins on Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare, we’re able to continue our experience from one visit to the next – all of the friends, family, and colleagues that I have added will be there the next time I login, all the posts/tweets/check-ins that I have published will be there next time as well.

Having all of my data stored and at my disposal, why is it so time consuming to reference other users in a post/tweet/check-in?

Foursquare does it right – it literally can complete my thought!

I use Foursquare a fair amount, mostly for self-serving purposes such as unlocking deals at retailers or in an effort to indirectly brag about a great concert I am at. I usually find the establishment that I’d like to check into, and check into it – or unlock the deal. I seldom tag others in the post since it’s just that much more time intensive.

Recently, I was heading out to grab a bite with a friend, and was waiting for him to arrive. I was checking in (from the parking lot) and decided to drop a quick comment ‘Grabbing dinner with ‘Fra’ – I didn’t even finish typing and his name and icon appeared at the bottom of the comment box. Yes! Foursquare knew exactly what I was doing, but beat me to it – or, since we’re in 2012 and we need to be expect more, Foursquare completed my thought pattern.

Below is a graphic that I am using for illustrative purposes – in this instance, I start typing in a name ‘Heat’ – Foursquare has narrowed my friends down to two – ‘Heath’ and ‘Heather’. At this point I can do a few things:

I can…

  • Click on Heather’s name and it will finish spelling her name out
  • Finish typing Heather’s name myself and then click on her icon below to tag her
  • Finish typing Heather’s name myself and not click on her icon to avoid tagging her – maybe it’s another friend who may not be on Foursquare yet.

Twitter streamlines things a bit more, however, it’s not nearly as fluid as Foursquare

In mid-Tweet, I am able to click the ‘@’ button on the bottom left or drop my own ‘@’ in using the keyboard to bring up a list of those that I follow. If you have more than five hundred users that you follow, sifting through the list is daunting. I also found it particularly frustrating that there wasn’t a ‘by letter’ navigation on the right hand side of the screen to bypass the non-sense and get right to the tag.

Facebook is tied with Twitter for being the ‘worst offender’

While updating my status, in mid-thought, I am required to click on an icon on the bottom left of the screen. Once clicked, the screen is taken over by my friends list. The search functionality is great, as well as the ‘by-letter’ navigation on the right hand side of the screen.

These two features alone help us be more productive by finding what we need, quickly. If you’re very outgoing, you are able to select multiple users in the same window instance, then choose complete to close the window.

What Facebook lacks in terms of keeping my experience on the same screen as my post, it makes up for with its friend list search functionality and ‘by-letter’ navigation.

In all of our projects that we’re doing, both on the web and off, it’s important for us to be smart marketers and create unique experiences for our consumers – shaving off a few seconds here and there on a mobile experience may help a user rationalize why he or she is using one social network, website, or service over another.

If there is a great deal of data tied to a user while he or she is immersed in the mobile experience, it’s important to make that data readily available – if you aren’t going to help me connect with all of my data in the ways that I’d like to be connected – I’m leaving!