No phones at the dinner table. It’s a rule. My mum used to insist no matter how important a text message or a phone call may be, it can wait until after dinner. I believe this is a rule that is not uncommon in many modern households. After dinner I (as I’m sure many of you have also done) would immediately unlock my screen and check my phone for any possible messages, notifications or posts I may have missed during the time it took me to scoff down my broccoli and beans.
It’s the first thing I do when I get up in the morning and the last thing I do before I close my eyes at night – check my phone. The smart phone has provided us with an incredible near-instant and constant stream of news, gossip and connection. ‘You’re obsessed with that thing’ Mum used to say, ‘that phones become an appendage of yours’ dad would chime in. I believed however, that the constant connection my phone was giving me, was simply.. necessary.
I’ve noticed a change in recent years since my Mum and Dad first made those comments, they’ve upgraded from LG 3’s to smartphones, they forget to take their phone to work or the supermarket much less frequently (bonus for me when I have last-minute snack requests) and they use their mobile apps for the news, social media and entertainment. The mobile phone has become a part of their every day lives, much like it is a part of mine.
In the last decade we have witnessed how the internet has, and continues to change businesses and marketing processes [C.M.M. – A Digital Marketer’s Guide To Success]. In the last few years we have seen the rise of another trend which has again forced companies and brands to change the way they operate – smart phone use and mobile internet. The increasing use of mobile phones as a media platform has reshaped the digital landscape.
The internet and social media provide us with instant connection, meaning we are now constantly connected wherever we go through our mobile phones. Our connectivity is literally mobile! Which has created, as discussed by Andreas Kaplan in: If you love something, let it go mobile: Mobile marketing and mobile social media 4×4 a tighter integration between the virtual world and real life. Kaplan talks about how through status updates on Facebook and Twitter we know what our friends are doing at any particular moment, while check in’s and location tags allow us to identify where our friends are physically located.
This melding of virtual and real life has allowed for the creation of new and revolutionary ways of communication for brands.We see examples of businesses who utilise consumers constant connectivity and the merging virtual and real worlds all the time. Urbany Hostels offer visitors who check in to their hostel on Facebook free internet there are hundreds of example of restaurants such as Kinn Thai who offer their customers discounted food and drink for ‘checking in’ on social media. These brands are promoting their customers physical presence through their virtual presence.
The line between ‘online’ and ‘offline’ marketing is becoming increasingly blurry with the use of mobile phones and the application of mobile marketing. Although Mum may have believed the relationship I have with my phone, an obsessive emotional attachment, In the year 2015 it seems to be more a matter of functionality, accessibility and the modern way of living. We are after all living in the digital age.
So again I put it to you:
- Are we obsessed with our mobile devices or are they a necessary part of our everyday lives?
- Are our virtual and real worlds melding together into one?