Is Mobile the Answer to Social Network Monetization?

I just got back from a great lunch with a local executive who helps run a mobile application company. One of the primary things they are specializing in is building mobile social networks and helping other companies plug into those networks. We had a great conversation about the future of mobile and social networks and the challenges that social networks currently face in entering the mobile arena.

It is also common knowledge that social networking sites already face a challenge within their businesses to effectively monetize their sites. So far, nobody has been extremely effective at it. Facebook has been pulling in new executives to try and make an attempt at new monetization strategies but ultimately working to monetize a site which I argue will not be a central destination point a few years from now is relatively worthless.

Instead, the social network sites are going to turn to mobile as one of the central locations for monetization. Text messages and subscriptions are the norm on mobile carriers. This leads me to believe that perhaps social networks will potentially become a subscription service. The only counter argument to this is that Twitter is not currently monetizing their site aside from one ad that’s displayed on the Japanese version of their site.

While there are no answers as to what will happen in the future, I think a lot of potential for social networks exist on mobile. The real question is if the mobile applications will be monetized or if Twitter is destroying the opportunity for future players. How do you think social networks and mobile will work together?