December 15th, 2011
My phone recently called it quits on me. While it may not have been the end of the world, it was the end of my mobile world; for a week at least. After the tech specialists deemed my phone unfixable, I had to get a new one. Lucky for me, I had insurance. Unlucky for me, my phone model was no longer sold in stores and a replacement had to be ordered. ETA: One week.
While this was quite an inconvenience to live through, it was also an eye opener to see how much one person relies on that little electronic we toss in our purse or tuck in our pocket. I was left without any form of mobile communication or information flow, and I quickly realized how much we rely on our smartphones to interact with people and the world around us. I also quickly realized how hard it is to find a payphone, but I digress.
When I say communicate, this not only includes voice calling, but extends to sending emails, posting on Facebook, shooting out text messages, checking in on Foursquare, browsing the web, Tweeting and more. While I was out and about, I had no idea what was going on and nobody knew where I was. I wasn’t able to call my mom from the road to tell her I was on my way to visit and I couldn’t text my boyfriend to let him know I would pick up dinner. I couldn’t check my emails so I felt a little lost as to what was happening at work while I was away from my desk. I wasn’t able to login to Facebook, and as odd as it is, I missed a dinner invite from one of my girlfriends. I couldn’t browse the internet for local news, traffic and weather updates, and I wasn’t able to “check-in” to my current location.
Earlier this year, Pew Research released a report on how mobile phones have become a near-ubiquitous tool for information seeking and communicating. The research revealed that 83 percent of American adults own some kind of mobile device. Text messaging and picture taking topped the list of ways that Americans use their mobile phones, shortly followed by content sharing and going online. A similar report from Current Results showed that people spent half the time on their smartphones to keep in touch with others through emails, text messages and phone calls.
The shift towards mobile in the way we communicate and consume information has had a direct impact on how professionals interact with each other and how businesses engage with consumers. People being mobile and constantly online have influenced when and where we can communicate with other professionals, whether they are colleagues, clients or journalists. We can answer urgent emails from the grocery store and take conference calls from the airport. I have even received text messages from a reporter about a meeting. Moreover, news outlets themselves have begun publishing stories differently and creating apps so they are more reader friendly on the gadgets we view them on, thus creating a direct impact on the way information is packaged. From a business perspective, there has been a shift toward mobile marketing because consumers are acquiring their content differently through mobile devices. This includes couponing, advertising, QR codes, app development and social media.
There is a lot of information online about mobility, smartphones and the way we communicate. I highly suggest that you check out this great roundup of infographics that shows just how big the world of mobile marketing and communications is, and how fast it is growing. You may be surprised to find that two hundred trillion text messages are received in America every day.