The Best Mobile Experience Wins My Loyalty

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?

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About Alex Lawrence

Alex has been a successful entrepreneur for 20+ years. His current venture Lendio ranks #34 on the Inc. 500 list. Alex earned a BS degree at the University of Utah and his MBA at Weber State University, where he is Vice Provost and Director of the Entrepreneurship Program. If you want to talk with Alex about business and entrepreneurship (or other questions), email him (alex AT startupflavor DOT com), or you can find him on Twitter @_AlexLawrence.
  • Interesting insight about the importance of being on the mobile phone first (or as a minimum). 

    Regarding Google+…who do you use it with? Friends from Facebook? Twitter followers? New acquaintances?

  • alex_lawrence

    Hey David — nice to see you here.  For me, I don’t use G+ much.  For the most part, I use it because I’ve clicked on a Twitter link that takes me there or someone has mentioned me in a post.  I’m finding it hard to get too involved because of the perceived time it takes.  To answer your question more specifically though, I’d say I’ve mostly interacted with people I know or know of — not a ton of strangers so far.  So some people from FB, some from Twitter, some from ‘real life’.  How about you?

  • Brenden

    G+ is only growing because you automatically get registered when you create a gmail account. Actual usage of G+ is down.

  • Crystalee Beck

    Good for you for getting out and trying the latest and greatest tech ideas. I respect that.

    I’ve read your impressive bio and know you’re quite the presenter and have a booked schedule. How do
    you make time to keep up with all the social media minutia?

    Although I’m a social media administrator at work, I sometimes feel overwhelmed at ALL the social platforms. To be honest, I don’t branch out much from my favorites, mostly to protect my time. Since I already spend 10-12 hours a day glued to a screen  – work + personal movie watching, texting, freelance writing, etc. – I’m hesitant to add another social media addiction to my personal list. That’s why I haven’t signed up for Pinterest; it would be very dangerous for me.

    • alex_lawrence

      Hi Crystalee — thanks for coming over to the blog.  Thanks for the compliments, too 🙂

      As for “making time” — I don’t.  I use my mobile phone for most of it and fill idle time with various mobile app activities, including social.  Waiting in line, an elevator, going to the bathroom (LOL), eating and so forth are often times I’ll read on my phone.  Rarely when I am with someone else though — I generally only read/post when I’m alone.  I think it’s kind of rude to stare at a phone when you are with someone.  

      As for branching out and protecting your personal time, I say good for you.  To each his/her own though.  I also protect family/personal time and often don’t take my phone or computer out of my home office. So stay away from Pinterest or others as long as you’d like.  There is no prescription for the correct way to interact online.  Might I suggest though that you read about it and others and experiment with them while doing your social media administrator work.  You’ll need to be up to date for that job so while ignoring networks like Pinterest in your personal life are fine, they could hurt your performance in that particular job.

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