It’s easy to get excited about the potential of social networks and mobile devices. We’re forever reminded that from a marketing perspective, there’s
Although the emphasis of these discussions was on mediated publics (e.g., MySpace, Facebook. etc.), I made a point to ask a few questions about how cell phones come into the picture as a way to keep the network dialogs humming when the computer is back at home. Here are three eye-opening realities of these new media, according to the panel:
- People beyond college age are mostly using social networks for the following reasons:
- Networking for business
- Keeping an eye on their children (the evocative term that panelist danah boyd used was helicopter parenting)
- Ms. boyd was leery about how long the “over-35 crowd” will be on Facebook. She theorizes it will be two years tops before they realize there’s little of value for them on that network.
- Mobile marketing in the U.S. is hog-tied compared to the rest of the world, due to the incompatibility between carriers (what danah called the “carrier barriers”). I knew this going in, but it’s worse than I thought. Here are two constraints I hadn’t really considered against adoption within a key market segment:
- Most high schoolers, and younger college students, are getting their parents’ antiquated hand-me-down phones. They are also often bound within their parents’ cell phone plans.
- These plans rarely have unlimited texting, so every text is potentially another dime or more on the monthly bill. This can raise parental eyebrows — or worse, tempers. Bummer for us marketers, and for them.
All of this was a valuable splash of cold water about these emerging media. They will continue to “emerge,” but don’t expect mass adoption any time soon.