MSN Platform: A Mobile Social Networking Platform Targeting Mobile Phone Users in The Developing World.

1st Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Joachim P. Hasebrook (ISNM)

2nd Supervisor: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Andreas Schrader (ISNM)

The purpose of this master thesis is to present the MSN (Mobile Social Networking) Platform, a social networking platform targeting mobile phone users in communities where mobile phone penetration exceed PC penetration. In the developing world, the penetration of mobile phones far much exceeds PC penetration, making mobile phones a communication platform of choice among many people in these communities. And, as mobile phone infrastructure improves in these regions, projections are that more people will access the Internet from mobile phones than from desktop computers, offering users an alternative to desktop computers. Meanwhile, online social networking has in recent years been on the rise even though much of it has been restricted to desktop computers, with users accessing various networking features through web-browsers. With the use of mobile phones to access the Internet increasing worldwide, some social networking platforms have already began to offer access to some of their services through mobile phones. There are also social networking platforms exclusively for mobile phones and they target a world-wide audience. These applications however do not offer options for users from varied cultural backgrounds to adapt them to their preferences. One issue of importance is language support which may be necessary for some cultures to adopt and use these social networking platforms efficiently. However, there is also a challenge for supporting many languages and culturally motivated preferences in mobile social networking platforms. This is so because there are many ethnic communities and languages world-wide, which makes it impossible even for big corporations to form a team that can develop platforms that are culturally inclusive to any community. The MSN platform proposes a mobile social networking platform that allows users to network , with options to adapt the application to their preferences through a wiki based system. While people in developed societies can turn to PCs for online social networking, the MSN platform is proposed as an alternative to desktop computers in communities where people depend more on mobile phones for communication than on desktop computers, in the developing world.