Breaking news about the growth of MXit. Why thy chose 2.3 million to do a press release I do not understand, 2 million or 3 million would be a good way to go. The important thing to note in this press release is the break-down of the age groups. That 12-18 year category being the most vulnerable.

After just under two years, MXit, the free mobile instant messaging platform, has more than 2.3 million registered users.

In January 2006 the number of MXit users had increased to 360 038 from just 47 when the company launched a year earlier. This figure has increased more than six times in the past 10 months with a total of more than 2.3 million users as of 20 November 2006. The figure continues to increase at a rate of about 10 000 per day.

“With numbers like this, the MXit phenomenon is an ideal opportunity for advertisers to expose their brands to a captive audience in an uncluttered environment,” says general manager of MXit Darryn Foster.

New figures released in November indicate that the 12-18 age group, accounting for 44% of the user base, has overtaken the 19-25 age group, now accounting for 33%. Users over 25 make up 20% of the community and those under 12 only 3%.

“But don’t let these numbers fool you,” says Foster. “With MXit’s users being as old as 70, the popularity of the instant messaging chat service is creeping into the lives of adults as well.”

When it comes to a provincial breakdown, Gauteng make up 28.58% of the MXit population, followed by the Western Cape with 26,73% and KwaZulu-Natal at 22.14%.

More males have registered on MXit, making up 58% of the population, with females making up 42% of the population.

“MXit has devised a code of safe practice. A safety message about not giving out personal details is provided whenever any user enters a chat room. Users can also report any problems to us through the abuse section of our forum,” says Foster.

“However, these figures are based on the details of approximately 50% of the community, those that have provided MXit with their details,” says Foster.

MXit’s popularity is further supported by recent research carried out in the United States showing that the Internet and mobile phones are changing the way teens define friendship and interact with their peers. American teens are now choosing instant messaging as a preferred means of interacting with their friends.

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Vasili Vass
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