I have noticed it more recently, perhaps because I am becoming conscious of my own addiction to mobile and tablets but everyone, all of the time, is head down into their mobile. It is something that has been gathering pace as the smart phone uptake has grown (iPhone represent 55% of all mobile traffic and 7% of all web traffic) but it is now literally out of control. Human beings can no longer have a pause without the pause being filled by a pull at the phone and some interaction.
Although not what I am focusing on today, it is interesting that the advertising and media industry still seems in capable of grasping this opportunity, I would now say above all other media channels mobile dominates our life and yet ad spend on mobile and mobile optimised ecommerce sites of major brands is not where it should be. In 2010 advertisers spent £83m on mobile advertising – that’s a crazy stat when you think how attached we are to our phones.
The thing with the mobile phone and in particular the smart phone is the crazy amount of things you can do with it, it is this that makes it something we are glued to day and night. GSMArena carried out research with around 15,000 people, link here and you can see the array of things people use their phone for and what was most popular. There is a word cloud and an info graphic, both below that are pretty insightful.
The detail behind those words can be found on the next infographic
It is for this reason that my phone stays with me from dawn until dusk, I am not alone in reaching for my phone before anything else, 83% of people use their phone as an alarm and so starts the day. From here when you look around you its relentless. Everyone is used to the idea of people using phones on trains etc, the commute, it’s not that which I notice the most, it’s the bits in between. As an example what is the shortest pause you need to reach for your phone or check it?
a) Would you check your phone as you wait for the cash machine to register your card?
b) Would you check your phone as you wait for lights to change in the car?
c) Do you always look at your phone while you are walking?
d) Would you check your phone in a work meeting
e) Check it when you are one on one with a friend?
It is relentless checking that I am noticing, and I am well and truly guilty of it, but I think we re beginning to erode the old rules and its acceptable. More and more people are checking phones during meetings, at dinner, at the bar, often three or four people are all checking at the same time. Big events and presentations have more people with their heads down on their phones or tablets than concentrating. The rules of politeness are being eroded. Concentrating on a conversation or a meeting is no longer a prerequisite. In fact as soon as someone leaves a conversation to pop to the gents, you dive onto your phone is you have been restraining yourself. We are all addicted.
More and more guys are on their phones at the urinals now, that is an emerging trend! Perhaps they were the polite ones not looking at their phones during a conversation and went to the loo just so they could.
I remember someone once saying that we are making time for ourselves with mobiles because we fit all our catch up conversations in on the move and so its making time at home for partners and friends, I am not sure that holds water anymore, we are always on our phones and when it was just calls it was fine but now you can basically run your life from them, they have become more intrusive. I look around me and see everyone immediately reaching for their phones at any pause in life, all of us head down not watching life go past and I feel like I am in one of the futuristic movies where we are all wired to some unseen force, I think we need to disconnect more.
VW have done it in a German factory, they have stopped their servers sending emails at 6.30pm so workers are not constantly on their blackberries – interesting! Not sure that will catch on but its the principle of it, the fact they are trying to break a cycle that is hard to break. As new members join the company and are desperate to get a blackberry I always think what a mistake that is and to stay away for as long as possible, as soon as you are wired to the work all hours is the day you will never truly have a holiday again.
I am addicted to my phones so I am all the things up there but I wish I was not, I spend too much time on it and looking at it, it makes me rude at times, and I miss things because its head down all the time.
I think Microsoft got it right in their Ad to kick start their new phone – ‘Really’ Take a look, not a bad Ad and absolutely on the mark!