Our Desire for Mobility is Shaping the Digital World

About a year ago, I wrote a short piece explaining a change in my digital use behavior; specifically, my preference to reach for my Smartphone rather than my PC when I need some information from the Web.

Since that time, my Smartphone and tablet have become my digital devices of choice and I rarely go anywhere without them. How do I know this? Some behavioral clues:

  • I use my mobile device to connect with social media sites more than my PC. Even when I’m at my PC, I tend to reach for my phone…go figure.
  • More and more, I use apps for recipes, travel, weather information, games, and general surfing.
  • I have my tablet or phone within arm’s reach even when the TV is on so that I can surf the web or respond to emails, or read something. The TV tends to be background noise. I’m rarely engaged by it, but the sights and sounds coming from the box are somehow comforting.
  • When I am in an elevator or the line-up at my favourite coffee shop, or killing time waiting to meet friends, chances are I am staring at the screen of my phone (as is almost everyone around me).
  • I don’t buy a newspaper or magazines anymore. I prefer the digital versions. And they’re cheaper too. I love that I can magnify the content with a few gestures…which is great for my middle-aged eyes (though I think this may cause more grief when it comes time to get a vision prescription).
  • When my partner “borrows” my tablet, I go through a form of withdrawal – granted, this may be an extreme description, but it does feel like a part of me has gone missing.
  • My friends and family tend to report the same behavior.

I can’t remember the last time I turned on our home PC. We each instinctively just reach for our mobile devices at home now. We love the fact that we can be in any room in the house when we surf / email and not tethered to a desk. Even taking the laptop to another room seems like a chore now. Ridiculous isn’t it?

And I’m not the only one. More and more Canadians are behaving in the same way that I am.

I subscribe to several daily marketing journals, and more often than not, digital marketing content is devoted to mobile (Smartphone, tablet) initiatives. They wouldn’t do this unless the mobile space had the momentum.

It’s not that the PC has gone the way of the Dodo, but our desire for mobility is definitely the driving force that is shaping our digital world today – in terms of hardware, usability, and the Apps we are downloading.