What MXit Needs to Do


Mobile instant-messaging giant MXit has become a common buzz word in South African households, and has catapulted South Africa's tech industry well into the age of social 2.0. But looking ahead into the near future, the company needs to shake-up a few things to make sure it can remain the leader in cost-effective communication for South Africans wanting to talk to the rest of the world.

 When MXit started out, the landscape was pretty desolate: they were a lone sole preaching their glorious technology to a country that hadn't yet experienced a feature-rich interactive communication tool. Coupled with mobile operators battling it out in a new, democratic South African economy – often to the detriment of the consumer – this new piece of software was like a godsend to South Africans; we were able to talk for less than a cent a message to friends and family across the country.

However, fast-forward a few years, and the social networking boom hit the world, most notably with Facebook "stealing" the limelight from MXit (both in users and controversy). Many people who I spoke to about this sudden shift in the communications landscape said relatively the same thing: MXit is boring; Facebook is far more fun.

And, for me, this still reigns true. Now, instead of logging on to MXit on a regular basis, clocking a fair amount of hours chatting to friends, I find myself increasingly visiting Facebook (either via my mobile or through the desktop site) to see what friends are up to, get the latest social buzz and occasionally chat to friends.

MXit's options are fairly limited, and what makes it worse, the software has been stuck on the version 5 moniker since late-2006, only offering updates in point-increments.

But let's not get too carried away with MXit's transition into the Web 2.0–era; the company is doing incredibly well at the moment, with major deals being inked with a myriad number of brands.

However, in order to capitalize on a whole new era, the company needs to adopt technology that can offer the features that users want: an integrated social experience. They currently do offer something akin to this, in the form of Twitter updates direct from the MXit client, but how about a more updated interface, with a desktop interface similar to a social networking website? Now that'd be a great way to drag users over from Facebook, and continue to propel the South African tech industry.

What are your thoughts on MXit? Do you use it as often as before? Share them in the comments below!

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