What is a social network? Well if you check Wikipedia then you'll see that's a pretty complex subject but for us laymen it mainly reminds of Facebook or Google Plus. These are established platforms that facilitate a number of digital interactions between the users in order to create the feeling of a community. Although artificial in nature, these communities have taken roots in many parts of the globe. In that respect, trying to enter the market with a new one is like battling giants. Audacious indeed. On the other hand posing like one is a totally different business. Especially when the phrase "not on par" is huge understatement.
Mxit (it's pronounced "mix-it" by the way) is a "fun, exciting and meaningful" chat app that requires your phone number in order to create an account and then bathes you in meaningless content.
If you stick with the chat function then you'll have a chance to share random phrases, stick videos, pictures and animated gif's to a conversation. Don't forget to also type something in. Either way, you can delete conversations if you don't want mom to see them and you can also remove contacts in case your Friends list becomes unbearably big. Not much else in this department, moving on.
The social network part is not really meaningful when you explore it unless you're interested in expressing your opinion regarding the South African rail-road system; or if you reside in South Africa. If not, Mxit will feel just like entering the wrong party mansion.
Mxit features a number of paid services, like watching video game trailers, all of which are paid with Moola. Yeah, moola is an internal currency that you can get by redeeming vouchers, receive it from your contacts or buying it with hard cash. This is a non-option really, because tapping on buy and tapping on the table have the same practical effect. There is also a fourth option called "Free Basic Electricity". That might be an inside joke (because the link also does not work). Otherwise there are virtually no ads except a ubiquitous banner about some hook-up chat room, but that does seem like it's a part of Mxit somehow.
Another point of interest might be the Apps section which features a weird selection of programs, each having about three lines of code and looking much like text adventure games from the seventies. They all bear suggestive names. For example "SkinMe" is supposed to change your background image but there is something about that name that does not instill me to try it.
- Chat and group chat options - A decent chat function with options of adding different media elements to a conversation
- Multiple profiles - Great when you need to pose as somebody else!
- Newsfeed - Once you get some friends, you will be able to check their activities.
- Backdrop - changing the backdrop image of a conversation will change it for everybody engaged in it.
So yeah, Mxit is either a big joke or South Africa is having its own Internet version where zombo.com is a popular domain. I see absolutely no reason of using this as an instant messenger either. Although it allows sharing of pictures and YouTube videos it doesn't do anything outstanding or especially useful.
- Nice looking logo.
- A decent chat function.
- A lot of would be features that do not work or are unintuitive.
- Bogus buttons. Either there are no functions behind them, or there's another error within the app.
- Text and interface inconsistencies.
- General feel of it being still in development.
Mxit might be popular in South Africa or India but it simply cannot hold against the competition. In all fairness, comparing it to the mobile incarnation of Facebook, you'll clearly see that false advertisement cannot elevate a messenger app to a fully-fledged social network. At least not until the developers make an effort to create more tools for meaningful user interactivity.