2015 has well and truly got us. We’ve succumbed to a digital era that would have seemed so alien to us years ago, back when we had to endure the dial-up tone when connecting to the internet, or had to cut our MSN conversation short because a family member needed to use the house phone at the same time. We’ve been had. We’ve been wowed by technical advances (I mean, where was Siri back in 2k2, and why weren’t Instagram filters invented during our damn ugly teen years?) and we’ve sure as hell let them engulf our lives.
Once upon a time, the most exciting thing that happened to that thing in your pocket was Snake passing through the walls on the Nokia 3310. These days, we’re absolutely lost if we accidentally leave our phone at home for the day. (FYI, if you didn’t already know, there’s an app for Snake now. I’ve tried it and it was fun. For one minute.) We get sweaty palms when we can’t check our work emails (even though we’ll actually arrive at the office in approximately 20 minutes), we can’t check Facebook, we can’t check if we’ve won that item on eBay and, oh god, what if we’ve missed something on our WhatsApp group?
That’s ‘the fear’, my friends. And you know you’ve experienced it at some point – even if it was a fleeting moment of panic when you couldn’t locate your phone within the first four seconds of looking for it, only to find it less than a minute later at the bottom of your handbag, in your coat pocket, or under your pillow.
If It Has Wires, I Ain’t Interested
It’s old news that we’re consuming media across a number of mobile devices these days. So what’s new?
This year has seen an even bigger shift from desktop to mobile devices, with brands not feeling satisfied with just ‘mobile-friendly’ technology. Nope, brands are now focusing on mobile-first, ensuring that we can consume any media at any time with the best possible quality. And you can’t blame them, with nearly 50% of consumers claiming they wouldn’t return to a website if it didn’t load properly on their mobiles. Mobile-first technology means our digital experiences will be much more personalised, by means of responsive design that taps into our preferences and location to give us a more tailored experience, as well as nice and speedy.
This means that all types of media we wish to consume – news articles, blogs, social media – will be readily-available to us at all times. And it has been for a while now, but there’s always that odd site that requires you to aimlessly navigate around its non-mobile-friendly site to find the information you’re looking for before getting frustrated, wanting to throw your phone out of the window, and consequently abandoning the site. This is, very nearly, a thing of the past, with brands investing sweet, sweet time and money into capturing our attention at all times. But hey, we don’t mind too much, as long as we can read the latest post on our favourite blog whilst we’re sat in a boring waiting room.
Brands are getting to know us…without us knowing it. They’re understanding our behaviour and they’re figuring out who we are. It’s a bit like a first date, without the awkward face-to-face interaction.
Let’s face it; in this shiny new digital era, we want convenience and we want it now. Who’s got the patience to wait until you’re sat at home in front of your computer to do your weekly online food shop? You want to keep your head down whilst you’re on the over-crowded train at 5:30pm so you don’t have to make eye-contact with anyone (and especially so you don’t have to engage in conversation with the over-friendly and slightly intoxicated passenger sat next to you). You want to do your Tesco shop and you want to do it now.
Brands are listening to us and catering to our needs. Or are we actually subconsciously falling into their hands like putty, missing out on things we once classed as important – and normal – like chatting to that neighbour you often see on your commute to work, or taking in the views as you walk through town, or simply trying to not trip up the curb or walk into the lamppost.
When our phones are in our hands, our heads are down. Yep, these brands have got us. And yes, we’ve been had. But we like it.