Strategy & Marketing

Mobile Phones Are Changing Our Behavior

As I’ve written before, mobile programming is becoming a more and more significant part of our lives.  According to research compiled even years ago, the cell phone is changing the way we live. In fact, some are questioning how we ever got along without them. This is the age of “anywhere, anytime communication.” The cell phone first hit the marketplace in 1984. Now, two decades later, more than half of all Americans use cell phones—about 150 million people who feed a $94 billion industry that is growing by 15 percent each year.  (That’s from a 2004 study).

The fastest growing segment of the population that is going wireless is kids between 12 and 17 years of age. It is estimated that 29 million are now cell phone users. And researchers are now telling us that the cell phone is impacting our social behavior—so much so that it could have a lasting effect on society as a whole.

“At least four ethnographic studies in the U.S. and Europe released in 2001 and 2002 have detected signs of changing habits due to wireless communication. Thanks to mobile phones, the researchers found, Americans and Europeans may be becoming more independent and spontaneous. But they may also be growing prone to planning at the last minute and arriving at meetings late. They’re sharing more of their personal lives in public but are also forcing a redefinition of basic etiquette. This increasing accessibility is allowing work to impinge even more on family lives even as it enhances social lives.”?

What other types of behavior changes have you seen since the advent of mobile phones?

Source:  “America Untethered,” American Demographics


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  1. As a business owner, I feel confident that I'm receiving calls from my clients at all times.  Even when I'm out of the office on another project, I can get new business via my cell phone.  I like the value of personal service rather than an answering service.

  2. I've definitely noticed a dramatic decrease in the intelligence of the average driver while engaged in electronic tinkering.

     Joking aside, I'm hopeful that churches will learn to effectively leverage mobile technology to enhance community and strengthen relationships. We've (a great many of us anyway)  got a long way to go.

  3. The social boon, here, can also fuel a social disconnect. How many teens do you know that text during every moment, and miss the depth that's available to them?! They miss part of the movie because they're texting, they miss half of the dinner-time conversation, 'cause they're send texts to friends about Alisa's hair, or Mark's joke, etc… Where are the memories they'll talk about to their children.

    Parents ~ embrace the growing trend without sacrificing your real times. Just make them have "non cell Moments"… just say, "OK, time to turn off all cell phones." Or, they just may end-up like Solomon in Ecclesiastes, texting, "this is all totally meaningless. My whole life is click, click, click, click, click. Send." (to buddies, most of whom they'll not even be connected to after highschool ~ all of us adults can attest to that fact, right?)

    Let's keep finding ways to let technology help our lives without becoming the sole focus.

    With all that said, the possitive side is that cell phones rock. What would we do without them? And then again, I just went on a family vacation, and forgot my cell… it was amazing!


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