I’m an early adopter of most types of technology. We have a GoSphero, the Lark silent alarm clock, UP band by Jawbone and a Romo from Romotive on the way (hopefully it gets here soon). There are too many apps, software and website memberships to mention. I’ve downloaded 1,000+ apps and signed up for more beta accounts then I’d care to admit. Don’t even get my friend Vince started about my FanBoi need for new iPhones and Apple gear. I justify this by calling it all a hobby. My only other hobby is golf, so I mostly use discretionary income to try fun new software, hardware and consumer gadgets. Sometimes there is a legitimate work related purpose but often times I’m just intellectually curious and want to learn and try new things.
In addition to tech that costs money, there is of course a bunch that is free. I’m trying Pinwheel, using Path, tinkering with Highlight and trying to get motivated for more Pinterest (which I like). Despite all of these new toys and beta signups, I’m still really enjoying “old” standbys and free services like Twitter.
I spoke with a smart entrepreneur for awhile yesterday and he was asking me questions about my consumption habits. How do I like to consume news and other information? What sites and tools do I use to read, share and learn? As we talked thru my preferences a theme began to emerge.
The services that offer the best mobile experience were winning my time and attention.
Although I find myself enjoying and using web-centric sites and services, the ones that get the bulk of my time and interest are the ones that make the mobile experience the best. This is why I think short form tools that use “easy media” are the ones that will have the longest shelf life and most sustained growth. I’m NOT saying these are the right networks for every brand or ranking signal. I’m simply focusing on the best mobile experiences, not necessarily the best social or buying experiences.
For example, I think Google+ is the best social network on the Internet. I much prefer it to Facebook, LinkedIn or any other social network that lends itself to a larger screen. Google+ is long form (paragraphs of content in a single post) and often includes embedded video for added effect. Having said all of that, I never use Google+ on my iPhone. It isn’t easy to consume a lot of content fast and the app itself isn’t fun to use. If I never use your service on my iPhone I’ve learned that severely hurts your chances of making it into my routine elsewhere. I think one of the main reasons many users (according to this article) don’t spend a lot of time on G+ is because of the poor mobile experience long form provides. The same is true for Facebook (I bet number of mobile users will increase, but time on site will decrease), LinkedIn (mostly people connecting their Twitter feed to LI anyway), and to some degree Pinterest (too many photos and descriptions to make their mobile experience awesome, but it is getting better).
While Google+ is experiencing phenomenal growth (and will continue to), Facebook numbers are starting to slow down. It’s because these types of services just aren’t built for the best mobile experience. I believe that over time you will see Twitter, Instagram, FourSquare, Path and other short form, mobile centric services achieve more consistent and sustained growth. They will probably never have the most users, but I think they will have the steadiest increase of users over time.
This is why Twitter is integrated into all of my habits. It is short form (140 characters or less) which requires brevity. No room for too many videos, pictures or links — Twitter is mostly a series of text messages if you think about it. Much more rich, connected and unique then text, but still similar nonetheless. Why do you think you see Twitter on television broadcasts, live events, news and sports shows? It’s because people can respond and interact with the TV easiest via their mobile device. These outlets know that short form, mobile friendly communication is the best way to engage an audience that isn’t chained to a desk. Twitter is showing up in music performances, political debates and fundraisers because media executives know that if they want discussion about something now, they need to have a Twitter handle and a hashtag. Examples of this are only going to increase as mobile phones become better, cheaper and more available around the world.
My use of Twitter (and to some degree, Path) continue to speed up because they’ve won me over on my cell phone. When you’ve won me over there, you win me over everywhere.
What services and tools are you using and liking? Are they designed primarily for a mobile experience or do you gravitate towards the web still?