The social web on your mobile

Wedge explores 16 brilliant mobile websites, for socialising and working while on the move.

I spend a great deal of time plugged into the Internet; I rarely graze the web like I might have done back in the early nineties, I’m really quite focused these days.

I’m a web publisher and intranet editor by trade, so eight hours of my day is spent writing business articles, editing news articles and creating departmental subwebs on our intranet.

I also run a voluntary organisation with Jules, and we provide a great deal of information for our members and visitors, so I’m always tweaking the FirstSigns website and I try to contribute to our blog there too.

I manage a few other websites for me and my friends, and so I need to keep an eye on my ants, on Jules’ erasers, on Chris’ kites and on Garry’s business (all hosted at

But, as well as long days and long evenings plugged into the net, I travel a fair deal too. I deliver training around the UK on emotional well-being, or rather, how to approach people in distress, and of course there’s my Sisyphean commute to and from work each day, apart from the days I work from home.

So how am I supposed to keep up with my email, Facebook, schedule and general world news all the time, when I’m on a train for a good percentage of my day?

I go mobile of course.

I could tell you that the iPhone has brought proper, full web browsing to the hand-held device, but if you’ve got an iPhone you already know this, and if you haven’t got one, you’re probably bored of hearing people banging on about how good it is.

I don’t have an iPhone, yet.

I’m happy to surf on any mobile phone, so long as I can download and install the Opera Mina browser; it’s free and it’s ace, flippin mint it is.

So here are a few websites to try next time you’ve only got your phone to hand (beware of connection charges, mine are very cheap, so I surf a lot).

Dump your default web browser

You simply cannot beat the Opera Mini browser; you must download it and try it for a week instead of that nasty, wires and paperclips browser that came with your phone.

On your phone (using that nasty browser), get it from

Once installed, you’ll enjoy populating your bookmarks with the following entertaining and useful mobile sites. Plus, Opera Mini is incredibly good at surfing ‘real’ websites, y’know, the big uns that aren’t designed for mobile viewing,

Mobile sites

Yep, these are all specially designed for, or at least, fantastically usable on, your mobile phone; I use many of them every day during my massive commute on the trains.

kilobox communiqué
Yes, this very site is available in a mobile edition – just visit as normal and you should see the stripped down version – all the content, none of the distraction. iPhone users get their own super-dooper version as well, which is very pretty and very usable.

No, not the mobile version of kilobox communiqué, but rather, my incursion on to the mobile web where I talk about web standards and the required code base to create pure mobile websites. I think that, actually, the ‘real web’ is accessible enough thanks to Opera Mini and the iPhone, but there’s still a need for customised information and mobile web applications, as you’ll see in the list below.

Twitter has a superb mobile version, and you should check it out. Makes tweeting while on the move a doddle, (might save you SMS costs) and lets you keep up with everyone you’re following.

Gmail should give you the mobile version by default, and yet it also offers you a ‘basic’ web version should you want to try it. Google has a habit of converting web pages to ‘mobilised’ pages, so be aware of that when you’re clicking links with emails.

Train Times
Yes, you can see ‘pda’ in the link there; you can often choose between a tiny tiny mobile version of a website, and the ‘enhanced’ PDA version; with Opera Mini and iPhones you can afford to risk the PDA versions :)

Login and experience Facebook on the go, with a cut-down interface and a mobile design. Update your status wherever you are.

Google Mobile search brings you results from the ‘real web’ and from the mobile web.

30 Boxes
The excellent and rather social calendar has a fair mobile version. Never be away from your schedule. Also available in an iPhone flavour, which I highly recommend if you can get past the first page:

All Google Services for your particular phone
See if you can access Search, Gmail, Maps, Calendar, Docs, News and Picasa Photos!

Google News
You can even customise your news, just like you do on the big web.

Picasa Photos
View your galleries and browse the shared photos.

Bijou Amazon – order while you’re shopping in WH Smiths…
(Is there a better address than this? M.something?)

Yes I know it’s supposed to be but that just never works for me, so I use the one that T-Mobile touts. Does it work for you?

The Telegraph Newspaper goes mobile – just news (yay), sport (ugh) and travel (groan).

TV Guide
I don’t know who they are either, but even though the guide is designed for the iPhone, it’s the best TV guide I’ve come across on any phone.

P.S. Watfordgap mentions Scribe and Wavelog for blogging while mobile, check out his post on Symbian blogging tools.

Can you give me some more great mobile sites in the comments below? I’d very much appreciate your help here.

  1. Some old, some new, and some that I really must try out during my mobile web commuting time.
    Thanks for the link to my mobile blogging finds.

    Great !

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