Tuesday, July 31, 2012
When Worlds Collide
I knew it would happen one day, but I thought the collision of new technologies would be more of a figurative gesture than the literal collision of three technologies in my own home.
But like many things in life, things happen whether we’re ready for them or not.
It was a typical summer morning with my three fellow home dwellers doing their usual stuff. My wife was walking around with ear plugs in and messing with the tiny screen of her MP3 player.
Our oldest son was plugged into his smart phone watching reruns of something I’m sure was truly important.
And our youngest had his face buried in his tablet and headphones snugly attached to his head.
All three had their eyes firmly affixed to their respective devices when it happened. The three of them charged right into each other in the confluence of three hallways. Boom — well, almost boom.
And that’s pretty much how the technological boom of this era is going. Everyone has his or her own preferred techy gadget to fill their needs, whether it’s music, Web browsing or the latest reruns.
Recently I heard someone on local NPR reflect on the usage habits of his own children as a core sampling of user habits. It brought to mind how many times I had done that myself over the course of the last two years.
My logic has always been, if you want to stay ahead of the curve, just watch the way teens are doing the new technology. You can learn a lot from these native users as they charge bravely ahead with few fears.
For all the countless blog posts I get about the use of Facebook, Twitter and other social media, these primary source users — living right under our own roofs — are the key to solving the mystery of cultivating tomorrow’s Web consumers.
I had to agree with the person on NPR, these native users of smart phones and tablets are completely, or at least partially, bypassing televisions and computer screens to get their information and interact with friends.
They seem perfectly happy to work in the 2-inch square medium of the smart phone and on-screen keyboard. Their fingers don’t hunger for the tactile response of a real keyboard.
In the end, however, for as many episodes of “The Office” and “Top Gear” I’ve watched my group watch on their tiny mobile screens, I’ve yet to see them pull up a television newscast or a newspaper. Which leads me to think this target has yet to meet this market.