The Warc Blog

The Warc Blog

Debunking Ten “Mobile Mania” Myths
Eugene Yiga, Knowledge Manager, Synovate Laboratories
Eugene Yiga
I just read Mobile Mania from Y&R. Unfortunately, as is the case with most of their publications, this one presented very interesting findings on a very relevant topic in a very gimmicky way. There were more exaggerations (“Consciousness is overrated”). And all the short sentences. Mostly fragments. That start. Then stop. Suddenly. Like a jogger. Trying to talk. While gasping for air. Made me hy. Perventilate. Just reading.

In this post, I’d like to address ten predictions they feel will shape the future (pages 52 and 53). These are based on their “observations of teens” who are treated as de facto experts because one day (barring divine intervention to save us all) they’ll be in charge. Let’s begin:

1.    Everyone will be socially networked. Because otherwise they’ll never get invited to anything.

Will absolutely everyone be socially networked? What about half the population living on less than $2 a day? I doubt they’ll be tweeting about their hunger pains. And will people never be invited to anything? If you’ve got connected friends, I’m sure they’ll let you know.
2.    No one will ever lose touch with anyone.

Will people never lose touch? With anyone? Ever? To infinity plus one? The fact that we’re able to stay in touch doesn’t necessarily mean we will. Social media hasn’t really changed the underlying dynamic of relationships, which rely on a lot more than websites and widgets.

3.    Social networks will be valued for the security they offer. You don’t want to date a psycho. Psychos don’t have many friends on Facebook.

Don’t social networks make it even easier to lie about who you are? Perhaps a psycho would struggle to woo you in person but I’m sure they’d do just fine hiding behind emoticons and fake pics. They could even set up multiple profiles and be their own friends. How would you know?

4.    Celebrity culture will grow and grow. The internet allowed people further into celebrities’ lives than ever before. The mobile internet allows them to follow those lives 24/7.

Do celebrities even want to be followed 24/7? Wouldn’t that turn them into the paparazzi they detest? Even Ashton and Oprah hardly tweet directly. And if they don’t tweet, how can we follow?

5.    It will be normal to let other people monitor where you are through GPS. If your signal switches off, your friends will think you have been kidnapped. And your boy/girlfriend will know you are up to no good.

Would people honestly think you’ve been kidnapped? Or would they enviously cheer you on for having the guts to break free of the grid for a moment to yourself? And why would you partner automatically assume the worst? Shame on them!

6.    Linking the cellphone to the cloud will be important. Lose your cell and you lose your life.

Would people vaporise into thin air like they’d been shot with ray guns? Zap zap poof? Um, no. I survived just fine while my phone was in repairs for a week last September. Yes, it was a little inconvenient, but not the end of the world. Anyone whose life would come crashing down in an apocalyptic fit from something that petty should probably spend more time outdoors dealing with things that actually exist.
7.    You don’t pay for air. Why pay for music and film?

Maybe if air was invented and protected by copyright, we would. Besides, how would masterpieces like Avatar be made (it cost $500 million according to The New York Times) if nobody paid the small cost to see them?

8.    Analog TV constantly exposed viewers to new thoughts – people only watched nature documentaries because there was nothing else on. Today, there’s much more choice, so sports fans only look at sports, and geeks just look at tech sites. Expect this to make people more narrowminded in the 2010s.

Yes, studies show that too much choice can be overwhelming and lead to us actually choosing less, but will this really make us more narrowminded? What about all the other aspects (like the fact that 2 out of 5 college graduates never read a single book for the rest of their lives) already doing the job?

9.    There will be no privacy, and no one will care.

Whoa! Will absolutely no one care? What about the teens who commit suicide after their intimate pictures are spread around like vicious gossip? Don’t they care? (Point 10 actually starts with a colourful example admitting that people will care, which effectively admits point 9 is completely overblown.)

10.    Over the next decade, urban society may redevelop characteristics of the tribal environment where mankind lived in the prehistoric era. Where there was no privacy. And everyone knew who you were sleeping with. And what you thought and did.

Mankind living in a prehistoric era? If only we were so lucky!

Subjects: Digital, Consumers, Media

02 March 2010 07:43

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