MXIT Mobile Network Platform
Mobile network platform, Mxit is a low tech and homegrown social network which many young people have been gravitating towards.
Mxit has made huge strides in the social media industry and has become a global giant with a growing community of users. The mobile network platform boasts nearly 26 million users in South Africa, which makes it a front-runner in the South African social media industry ahead of heavy hitters like Facebook and Twitter.
The convenience that Mxit provides means that people can interact with a wide network of friends anywhere and anytime.
Statistics show that on average Mxit users transfer between 500 and 850 million messages on a daily basis, spends at least 85 minutes a week on the platform and logs in at least four times a day. Mxit users can use their mobile phones to chat with their contacts in real time, exchange photos and use a digital currency to purchase virtual goods.
The Mxit platform has also been instrumental for aspiring entrepreneurs who have found a large and willing audience for their innovative applications and services.
The allure of Mxit lies in the fact that it provides a cheap messaging service and can be accessed from the most basic mobile phone. The growing use and popularity of Mxit amongst the core demographic of urban teenagers has come with its own challenges. Many teenagers have become addicted to this social media platform forcing many schools to ban the use of cell phones during school hours. Control measures such as these help to ensure that Mxit users have some Mxit-free hours for studies, family, friends and family. Mxit has also become a fertile hunting ground for sexual predators seeking to exploit teenagers who tend to be more vulnerable than the average person. Parents, teachers and caregivers are well-advised to focus on teaching young people about how to live with technology rather than denying them access altogether.
NGOs have derived numerous benefits from the Mxit mobile platform. By making use of this platform, they can reach South African youth in a medium that is both comfortable and familiar to them.
FunDza Literacy Trust
The FunDza Literacy Trust is dedicated towards empowering young South Africans by encouraging reading and boosting the levels of literacy. The organisation works in conjunction with more than 130 social media platforms to reach a growing community of virtual readers. By making use of the Mxit portal, FunDza has been able to deliver relevant and engaging content to young people in innovative ways.
Cell Life is a Cape Town based non-governmental organisation which has made counseling services and vital health information accessible to South African youth infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. Through the Mxit cares platform, an instant messaging service, Cell Life’s trained counselors are able engage in confidential chats with the youth. The Red Chat zone is a live mobile counseling initiative which was launched in 2009 and has to date provided assistance to more than 21 000 young people. The Cell-Life Red is a very useful information portal which provides updated HIV information for the benefit of young people.
R Labs is a non-governmental organisation which provides drug-addiction related information and live mobile counseling services via Mxit. R Labs has assisted more than 120 000 Mxit users on various issues including but not limited to drug addiction, stress, family and relationship issues. Through these initiatives, non-governmental organizations have added tremendous social value to the Mxit mobile platform.
Although Mxit derives some of its income from advertising, the primary revenue for this platform is generated through the sale of third party developer content to its users. This means that Mxit acts as a marketplace by providing applications and services and facilitating micro-payments using its digital currency, Moola. Mxit users can purchase wallpapers, music, games and many other products. Despite the growth of international sites like Facebook and Twitter in South Africa, Mxit maintains its dominant position as a chat service with the added functionality of applications designed to enhance the Mxit experience.