NZ could face a major change in Social Network usage.
New Zealand could see a major shift in social network usage and email providers now that Bebo offers Instant Messenger, email integration and LifeStream.
Bebo is the choice of social network for NZ Youth, Māori and Polynesian communities. Likewise HotMail and MSN Instant messenger are currently the preferred choice of email/IM for this audience. Moreover this audience is likely to use public computers or share computers with friends and family giving users the added annoyance factor of ensuring everything is logged out and checking if the shared computer has the right software.
Bebo has now integrated with AOL/AIM Instant Messenger giving its users no need to use a separate service that requires a download for Instant Messaging and no need to remember a host of usernames. A user can now look at the profile of their friend and IM at the same time similar to FaceBook.
Bebo has also incorporated the service to check and send AOL Mail, Yahoo Mail and Gmail from ones Bebo account. I notice HotMail is not here which is a further incentive for people to change their email address to a Bebo integrated services.
Perhaps the one service that will halt the need to use other Social Networks is “LifeStream”. LifeStream is a service that allows you to see updates from a different service such as FaceBook, MySpace, Twitter etc in a separate network. In this case Bebo. I assume that Bebo will add to this list of LifeStream service providers. But again this is a direct competition to FriendFeed.
All of this will result in the target audience preferring to use the one service provider Bebo.com for communication. Bebo is also becoming an attractive alternative to other social networks which may change the demographic user of Bebo.