Welcome to the “age of mobile”
Facebook’s decision to buy Instagram in April was more than just another tech-focused, media-hyped story about people making a lot of money selling a trendy product. According to technology experts, the purchase officially marked the end of the Web 2.0 era and the start of something new – the age of mobile.
What this really means is the official recognition of a new reality: people now spend more time using mobile apps (94 minutes per day) than they do browsing the Internet on their smartphones or tablets (72 minutes per day).
If the ground below you did not shake, don’t worry. The announcement of a new era usually lags behind the reality of what’s already happening. How we use technology, share information, and connect with others continues to change.
Facebook’s Instagram purchase helps define the scale of change. Instagram started because the iPhone redefined how we use mobile devices by making it possible to create an application that works on a phone. Kevin Systrom and his Instagram team developed an iPhone app that created a better way to take, stylize and share millions of photos. The less-than-two-year-old company had 14 employees when it was bought by Facebook for $1 billion.
Buying Instagram gives Facebook access to millions of people who have left laptops and desktops for tablets and handheld devices. The speed and scale of change is pretty dramatic:
- By the end of 2012, Flurry estimates that the cumulative number of activated smartphones and tablet devices will surge past one billion.
- According to IDC, more than 800 million PCs were sold between 1981 and 2000, making the rate of smartphone and tablet device adoption more than four times faster than that of personal computers.
From the business and industry perspective, the move to mobile web use is creating major challenges for “veteran” companies like Facebook and Google that must continue finding new ways to dominate social media and search engine markets.
What the “age of mobile” means to the rest of us
As challenging as it may be to keep up with technology changes, they make having a communications plan in place even more important. The rise of mobile technology does not mean you need to throw out your communications plan and start over, but it most likely means that you need to update your plan to reflect the new technology trends.
To be effective, your communications plan must take into account how people consume your message. You may have strong messaging, but if it takes too long to read the message, if the photo takes too long to load, or if your website requires too many clicks to find your message, you may not accomplish your goals.
Despite the changes in technology, being a smart and effective communicator will never be obsolete.
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