Reid Hoffman, who joined Greylock as an investment partner for its latest fund announced today, chatted briefly with me on trends in social media as the web goes mobile. For him, the mobile web is tied to the Internet as viewed on the PC, but certain applications will be more appropriate for wireless devices.
“The insight on web 2.0 is the web isn’t this strange place but is actually part of how we navigate our actual life, so with the web delivered to a mobile device, one of these things that will happen is that the same principle will now also be true for real-time applications and apps where people can do stuff from their phone,” Hoffman said.
However, he doesn’t see a need for developers to build all of their social applications with both the mobile and PC web in mind. Certain things will always be more suited to the PC environment and others for mobile. For instance, GPS is only relevant for mobile phones, he says. In his view, applications like social networking and those with relevance in real-time will help determine what should go mobile and what won’t. As for making investments in this area, he’s keeping his stealth companies under his hat, but did admit that monetization around social media both on the PC and on the go is still up in the air.
“The plan in social media is still that you get massive distribution and that can lead to interesting monetization, but the different plays on that are still TBD,” he said. “Mobile changes the space some because you may have some kind of billing relationship that may make paying for things easier, and that may make advertising more difficult.”
So for Hoffman, who is watching the consumer Internet go mobile, the various platforms, applications and the cloud are all areas that will deliver opportunities. While working with Greylock he hopes to find them and guide them to success.