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The Last Person Alive Without an IPhone (The Future of Social & Mobile Marketing)

I am probably the last person alive without an IPhone.

Gasp. I know. For those of you who don’t make it past that first sentence, feel free to drop down to the comments and tell me to “get an IPhone” – I hear it all the time. Every time I pull out my Blackberry at a local networking event, the record skips and I get the stink-eye from half the room. I know I’m behind the curve here. Shoot me.

Then there’s this new-fangled FourSquare thing. Back in my day this was an awesome game you played at Recess…I know what it is, I know what the benefits can potentially be for companies out there looking to target potential customers in new and exciting ways, but for some reason I’ve never climbed on board, for some reason the idea of telling everyone that I’ve checked in to the Schaumburg, Illinois Starbucks or that I’m the mayor of Ned’s Pancake house in Roselle just doesn’t have the allure that it does for many of you.

Are we becoming too plugged in?

I think for me – someone who is knee deep in Social Media – leading workshops for businesses and NPO’s – working with clients from literally all over the world, preaching that they need to embrace Social Media into their marketing mix (which I 100% believe has value for any business across the board) - there’s still some hesitation. There’s still something in the back of my mind that says, “Holy crap! We are becoming WAY too reliant on this stuff”.

Online marketing is the future of the way we do business – Social Media is not a fad – by now most of us have established that – we’re living in a fully interactive Web 2.0 world – it’s how we find clients, make friends, and build relationships. But I look at someone like my fiance, someone who can comfortably go a week without even touching her laptop – and I say, “maybe we’re going overboard with the spotlight we’re putting on the Internet” (of course after considering this I proceed to send out five more Tweets, refresh my Gmail three times, and click “ignore” to my Mom’s 32nd request for me to join her Farmville).

Last October I attended the MarketingProfs Digital Marketing Mixer here in Chicago – part of this was a panel discussion in which Peter Shankman and others talked about the future of Social Media. Their take was that we’re quickly moving toward a fully integrated Social platform – that in the future, there won’t be Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, & LinkedIn – everything will be ONE (we’re already seeing more and more integration of these platforms). The consensus was that in the not-too-distant future, we’ll be able to know where anyone and everyone is at any given moment – that businesses will have a censor as you cross the threshold that will AUTOMATICALLY check you in (sorry to those of you who are checking in to that bad-ass club downtown while sitting at home in your PJs…cheaters).

I don’t want my mom to know when I check in to the shower

It’s exciting, don’t get me wrong – but more than exciting I think it’s somewhat terrifying. Maybe I’m just incredibly old fashioned here, but there’s still something to be said for a certain level of privacy. I know you’re giving a lot of that up simply by being present online, but having everyone know where I am is like a bad episode of Seinfeld. That person that I was hoping to never see again can do the “pop in” at the local diner and I know it won’t be a¬†coincidence¬†because he can watch my every move on Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn/FourSquare/Skype/Myspace/NING/etc.

Not to mention, I like to get AWAY from the online world from time to time – it’s where I work, it’s where I spend a lot of free time, but I don’t ever want it to be where I live. By having a phone that sucks at browsing the web, that doesn’t have any cool Apps, I’m forced into that disconnect when I’m not at home, and I don’t know, I’m pretty OK with that.

We’re all in agreement that Social Media is a valuable tool – one of many – and certinley not “THE answer”. We all preach that it’s extremely important to take things offline and that face to face interaction is still paramount. But, my question to you is, do you actually believe that and put it into practice? Do you see us getting away more and more from the old school? Will coffee shops eventually be obsolete once we’re all meeting via Skype?

What does the future look like in that crystal ball of yours?

What does the future hold of Social Media and the way we do business? Where will Mobile Marketing go next? Why does this old-school Crackberry user need to make the jump to an Iphone? Will we ever see a “back to basics” approach, or do I just need to shut my mouth and buy into the future? (Where are the hover cars and men in silver suits already?)

Would love to hear your thoughts and comments on the future (as you see it) below…

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  1. Thanks, C. So I guess my question for you – fellow non IPhone user, do you use your Blackberry to surf the web, run apps, etc? Other than Twitter and Google Maps, I am App free on the Blackberry – I have the Internet but it is slow as hell and more of a pain in the ass than anything else. Maybe I just haven't tapped into the BB potential, but like I said above, I'm actually OK with the inept web browsing – forces me to focus on “IRL” a little more often. Thoughts?

  2. This is NOT a Blackberry versus IPhone conversation…it's a social commentary on the future of how we do business, Sheesh, Ash…can't I get something a little more profound? (I say this as I sit here watching Fresh Prince in my PJs)…Yeah…RISE OF THE BLACKBERRYS!

  3. I think I have to agree with you here, Matt. I'm one of the few without an iPhone. I'm a Palm Pixi user. I use a few apps, but pretty much limited to Twitter and Google Maps like you mention. I have a Foursquare account, but do not, by any means, check in very often. My life is just not that exciting, I don't always want to take the time away from the people I am with to check in, and I don't always want other people to know where I am. From a marketing standpoint, I can definitely see the value in mobile, but from a personal standpoint, I still like to disconnect.

  4. Ha, sorry! Have to pass an exam for my master's degree this week–been less philosophical than normal because my brain is about to explode!

    So here is my final answer:

    Technology is just as great, as it is evil. There will be some unforeseen implications down the road. I'm not sure what they are yet, but I imagine that it will ultimately shape our personalities and affect us as people more than we could ever, ever imagine. And that worries me.

  5. No iphone here, either. But then, I shun all phonetacular devices. I have a pre-paid cell for spousal location/emergencies and no landline. I wouldn't mind having an iPhone with data plan only, as internet access comes in more handy in my life than phone connectivity. But like you, I also don't want to be connected 24/7…16/7 is quite enough for me, thanks. ;)

  6. I have a Blackberry and won't be getting an iPhone unless they start offering it to other service providers as AT&T does not have service in the Metro. I'm pretty happy with my Blackberry. The only reason I would change from my current one is that there is a new one that comes in purple.

    I agree about becoming too dependent. I joined 4square, but then deleted my account because it scared me that people would know where I am at all times. It's too 1984, George Orwell, Big brother is watching you-ish for me.

  7. Well it seems like I've somehow indirectly united all of the non-IPhone users on the web in about 10 minutes (funny what a blog headline can do for you, eh?)

    You bring up a very interesting point here Kim that all businesses are faced with as a 'barrier to entry' – from a business standpoint, there's real value – but what about the personal value to you and I as consumers? Some businesses are tapping into this with FourSquare, offering special deals to those who 'check in', etc. – but there will always be those who don't want the entire world knowing where they are and what they're doing 24/7.

    I guess the question is, for each of us who wants and values that disconnect, will there always be 10 more who DO buy into it?

  8. Your lack of philosophy is forgiven Ashley – I'd say you do more than enough of that over in your neck of the woods. And by the way, GOOD LUCK on the exam this week – not that you'll need it, no doubt you'll rock it and there will be much rejoicing!

    To your point – yes – I agree – it does worry me. I started this blog back in February of 09 and since then I've had a draft sitting in the QUE about the Social Media wasteland the future may hold. As exciting as it is, it's equally terrifying and the impersonal direction I see a lot of things going is something that deeply worries me as well…Where we go from here remains to be seen – but I have no doubt they'll always be those “freedom fighters' that question the trends and, as you so aptly put, reject the status quo. That in of itself has me remaining hopeful that we'll still be grabbing drinks 10 years and not relying solely on e-mail to communicate.

  9. Haha, 16/7…I feel you there Jenn. So, you ONLY have a pre-paid phone? And I thought I was old school! Any particular reason why you've gone that route? Is there a philosophy behind your shunning? I feel like there's a good story here about why you've kept your distance from the high-tech mobile devices of the world…Would love to hear it.

  10. I have a Blackberry and no iPhone. Not only that, but I only have phone and text messaging turned on. I found I rarely used the internet services, or even email so I turned it off. I am online whenever I am home, which is where I also work, so it was just a waste of money. iPhone's are neat, but I don't need the expense and I hate AT&T. I can do almost as much with the iTouch I just got for my birthday

    I rarely even use the phone since everyone I deal with is easier to get ahold of online. I haven't had a land line since 2002, so it is my only phone. If I am out and about, I don't want to be distracted by email messages and such, anyway. I always carry my phone with me when I am out doing things, but mostly as a way to call in the cavalry if I do something stupid when out kayaking or hiking.

  11. Having a purple phone ranks pretty high up there in my priorities as well :)

    I agree with your analogy – as dramatic as it may seem to be calling it “Big Brother” – that's sort of what it feels like – and for as much fun as it may be to know that your friends can know where you are, it's also pretty scary to think that everyone (government, complete strangers, etc) can keep track of your every move…not sure if I feel too comfortable with that…

  12. I admit that I have an Iphone, but I don't think everyone needs to have one. I don't get the appeal of Foursquare- I think businesses can use it to their advantage, but I don't want people to know my every move. It's a little much when we start broadcasting our lives instead of actually enjoying them!

  13. I think there will probably always be at least a few who do buy in to each person who doesn't. I'm not always anti-check in. I don't necessarily want everyone to know everywhere I go (and I don't want to know everywhere they go either). I am willing to occasionally share where I am, but it's based on the question, “would I recommend this place to a friend?” If I think a place has a superb product/service, I'm more willing to share because I see this of being more valuable to the people following me than if I check in everywhere I go.

  14. You're not alone, I have a Blackberry too. I guess I'm kind of cheating, because I have an iPod Touch, so I can play games on that, and I can use the Internet when I'm in a place with a wireless network. Personally, I think having Twitter and Google Maps on my phone is enough. I think I'd get overwhelmed with many more apps on the device that is primarily used to make phone calls. That said, the iPhone is a pretty cool device, and I can't say that I'll never get one, especially if Verizon ever actually gets them.

    As for FourSquare, I have no interest. I feel like it's kind of an invitation for stalkers. Maybe that's just me being cynical, and not seeing the social networking value behind it, but we already have some many tools to keep in touch and keep each other updated on our lives. Do we really need to know how often someone gets a coffee at a particular Starbucks? Is it worth having our Facebook and Twitter feeds overtaken by FourSquare updates? I'm not sure it is. Anyway, great discussion points! I can't wait to see what other people have to say!

  15. Interesting. I just posted about my lack of iphoneness on my own blog last week. Must be something floating in the zeitgeist. I think it's a bit shocking, when you work in social media.

    Boundaries, limits, red velvet curtained areas of our lives–I think we all declare where these things are for ourselves. People will attempt to push them where they want them to be, but it's up to us to decide where we're comfortable with them.

    Maybe managing the boundaries of our digital lives is good practice for managing the boundaries of our “real” lives. Maybe declaring a moratorium on nonstop acquisitiveness is a healthy thing.

    Or maybe I need more coffee. Six of one, half dozen of the other, you know.

  16. Yep, only pre-paid phone, and mostly leave the ringer off. I buy a $100 card and it lasts me a whole year, and when the minute expire, I usually have at least half of them still left. We use Skype from home to make outgoing calls to our families, etc.

    The general philosophy is that I spend my day in a cubicle answering client needs for 10+ hours a day and that's fine – I enjoy my work. When I'm at home – that's MY time and I choose my interactions. Phones at home have always bothered me – I hate the culture of intrusion that if the phone rings I “have” to answer it…as if there's an inherent obligation of my time just because someone decided to call me. It's fair to say that it drives my parents nuts, that they can't chat with me whenever they like, but my home is my peaceful temple. I'm online much of the time at home, so it's not as if I'm unavailable, but online I can choose my interactions, and ignore email/twitter/FB at will.

  17. I don't even have a smart phone. I'm right there with you that I enjoy being disconnected at times and I think it's beneficial to just be 'alone' and not be pointing up on Foursquare.

    I went to a lunch with some networking people and all the business execs were 'checking in' while us new professionals were just enjoying the company and conversation. This is a whole new conversation, but I've been experiencing seasoned professionals to be more obsessed with FourSquare and badges than Gen Y/millennials.

    On topic, I go to work, head to the bus stop and go home. Who in the heck wants to see my schedule besides the stalkers?

  18. 1. Social media is a fad. We've chatted about this before a bit. Wait a few years and let's continue our discussion then.

    2. Agree with you about the over connectedness. I've pondered this a few times myself in the past here and here.

    I've been thinking a lot about this myself the past few months, as I prepare to become a dad in just a few months. I want my kid to understand technology, to use technology, to harness the potential for whatever he may need it for. But I don't want him to depend on it, to get headaches without it, or anything crazy like that.

    The reason I have an iPhone is simple: for business. The iPhone ecosystem allows me to do business more efficiently, in my eyes. I've never used a Blackberry – the iPhone was the first and only smartphone I've ever owned. I had a flip phone before this thing.

    But I don't have it because it's cool or it's the next best thing. It's just a tool that works for me. Blackberries might be better tools for other people and there's definitely nothing wrong with that.

  19. From the previous comments it is obvious you are not the only one without an iPhone, so I won't repeat that statement :) I am probably the only one in this country who has a Nokia, not even a BlackBerry.

    Absolutely agree with you that we are over-connected. But I've noticed an interesting trend lately: I see more marketing people getting obsessed with social networks of all sorts, while Gen Y, the people who used to live on Facebook, and some of them still do, are going through digital detox experiments. They try to unplug every once in a while and enjoy life here and now.

  20. My phone has no internet access, no camera and no text messaging! Though I will admit that I'm thinking about a new phone, none of the smart phones on the market are all that appealing. I agree with you; I want to be available on my own terms, and I do *not* want my movements broadcast to the minute. Maybe that will cost me as I start to establish my brand and business, but if it does, that's a cost I'm willing to take.

  21. And this is entirely different in my mind Kim – I 100% agree that when we have a good (or bad) experience somewhere, the first thing we do is go tell people – but now those people aren't simply our friends and family – it's every person on the Internet who will listen. Imagine what that can do for a business both positively and negatively. I'm preaching to the choir, but we're in an entirely new ballgame when it comes to word of mouth marketing that is spreading every second of every day.

    I buy into that, I understand it, and that's the essence of what every single business out there needs to be aware of. However, that still doesn't mean I want to tell the world where I am and what I'm doing all the time, but I will of course voice a positive or negative opinion of something if I think it presents value to my “followers/friends/etc”.

    Seeing that someone checked into a bar here in the city holds no interest to me, my brain is already programmed to essentially skip over any FourSquare updates on Facebook and Twitter…but again, I might be in the minority here…

  22. I what? Black who? Four how? OK, no I-anything here, no BB either. Sad to confess though I did try Foursquare. Left me cold, so cold. Brrrr

  23. I like the way you are thinking here – I have been using Skype more and more myself for business calls, but even with the lowest minutes package (which I have) a phone is way too expensive. The primary reason I still have the phone at all is to keep in touch with my fiance, and to take business calls from the old-schoolers who aren't on Skype yet and are more comfortable with talking over the phone. I have to say that I am amazed that $100 lasts you an entire year – you must teach me the way! I am spending entirely too much on phone bills every year…

  24. 1. I don't have an iPhone either. I have a myTouch. As nice as the iPhone is, along w/ a fantastic keyboard interface, I'm not going to pay a fortune for something that is so restricted, locked down & limited in features when I can have something right now that does the same (minus a good keyboard interface) for a lot less.

    2. Web 2.0 still exist? I thought Web 2.0 evolved into the social media world/lingo.

  25. VIVA LA BLACKBERRY! I have united the Blackberry forces with this post – now on to taking over the world! (lol)

    I didn't know landlines still existed! Haha, seriously though, I don't think I know anyone personally that's my age that still has a landline phone – cell phones have all but made them obsolete.

    As for FourSquare – who knows if I'll jump on that bandwagon down the line – right now – I don't see a lot of value with it – but if businesses really start to tap in and offer up sweet deals only available to FourSquare users, I'm sure I can be easily persuaded to get involved in that neck of the woods (to an extent).

  26. Well, I use email/gchat with the spouse during the day. If I need something between leaving the office/getting home, I send a text which costs me less than a 1min phone call. You can't really avoid business calls, but when I was working from home full-time last month, I had people call my cell, I'd grab the number and call them back immediately on Skype. Worked pretty well.

  27. Spot on – enjoy life, stop broadcasting everything every step of the way. At half of the 'tweet ups' (I hate that word by the way) I go to – the majority of the people are Tweeting, checking in on FourSquare, reading emails, etc. We'd all be a lot better of if we'd be a little bit more present in the moment instead of worrying about telling everyone ELSE what we're doing…am I taking crazy pills here?

    And it's perfectly OK to have an IPhone…heck my Mom even has one and I don't. I enjoy playing with others' but I'm doing just fine without one myself…maybe I'm just in denial :)

  28. I'm not opposed to getting an Iphone down the line either – full disclosure, the main reason I don't have one right now is that they cost an arm and a leg unless you are due for a phone upgrade. So I'm at least stuck with my BB for another year…

    I agree with you about Foursquare – I get the potential from a business standpoint, but like you said, I don't think this is really enhancing “networking” in any way. It just seems to be adding more noise and uninteresting information to weed through on other Social Networks I *am* a part of…I could say “to each his own” and honestly, that's what it comes down to, but I'm hoping to get more opinions from avid FourSquare users about WHY they use it as much as they do…

  29. Haha yes – it does come down to the personal value – and as I said in my comment to Sam above, I would really like to hear from and discuss this topic with someone who LOVES their IPhone and CANNOT LIVE without FourSquare, I know those people are out there – they aren't going to be judged here at all – I'm just wondering if they are seeing something that I'm not – if I'm missing the point here and need to get my ass in gear and be more in tune with modern trends (or not so much in tune…I'm already there, but more “bought in”).

    Going over to read your post now – loving your blog at first pass through, just subscribed.

  30. i think we're getting too much into the “to be, or not to be an iPhone owner” conversation and not as much into the real purpose of your post: “to be, or not to be constantly connected”.

    i think the real complexity comes into play when you find those perfect moments that happen BECAUSE you're connected (like finding out people who are going to the same conference as you are catching the same flight, and you instantly have people to meet as you wait to board) as well as moments that happen because you're not connected.. (having a really needed convo with someone IRL that could have ended up messy online)

    Even though social media is increasingly coming the norm, im still struggling to determine whats the happy balance between the two, and how do we get there.. and for that.. i appreciate your post, because it allows people to gauge where they're at in the process relative to you, and reflect on it. good stuff!

  31. Agreed here Kristina – I go to a lot of networking events and half the people are more concerned with what they're missing online than what they're missing right in front of them. The minute the Internet and our phones take precedent over real face to face interaction is the minute that I start becoming very very worried about where we're headed…Yeah, I'm already pretty worried.

  32. Out of people that I know, I'd say folks that have BB vs iPhone is pretty evenly split, maybe even BB having a few more. But I think the real “future” isn't necessarily iPhone, but these smartphones with a focus on apps and social media (which iPhone did first, which is why it's considered the best right now). Android, Palm Pre, the upcoming Kin are all phones moving in this direction, so I think it's only a matter of time before BB releases its own socially focused smartphone.

    As for FourSquare… I work in social media marketing specifically for restaurants, so it's worth keeping tabs on it for me. I don't check it everywhere I go though.

  33. Great thoughts here, Matt. I am also a fellow BB user. :)

    1. iPhone: only AT&T. No thanks. Period.

    2. 4Square: Looked into it and it kinda creeps me out. On one hand it's like playing a game (get points! become mayor! oust Joe Blow!) and on the other hand, who cares. I completely understand the mobile marketing implications and it would be super beneficial for on the spot coupons and deals, especially since there's a huge shift from paper anything, but I'm not all in on that idea. It's not enough to propel me to tell the whole world where I am at all times.

    3. The open world: we have really moved to an over-exposed, get your 15 minutes of fame here (however you get it), look at me! kind of mentality and if that is you, great. Go do it all day long. I live in a quiet part of town, not in the LA that's portrayed all over TV shows. I like to live a quiet little existence even while I'm on FB and Twitter. I'm not after a million followers/friends. I like those social platforms for the connectivity and friendships they provide, but I can step away too. Peacefully, happily step away.

    I got a Blackberry because I'm a job seeker and needed email access on the go. That's how my last interview set up occurred – email – not either of my phones. The only other app I use is Twitter because the BB internet (Bing? Seriously?!) sucks.

    It'll be interesting to see how the social platform morphs and who will be driving the changes and usage. Regardless, I will maintain a bit a distance and see if it fits into my life just like anything else.

  34. My boyfriend has a BlackBerry and I have an iPhone, so I've been able to experiment with both. I find the iPhone to be better. Buuuut this isn't a post about who has the bigger mobile… device. Yes, device.

    I think that there needs to be a healthy balance of online versus off. Like Ash pointed out, there can be many unforeseen consequences of this technology – though the technology itself is rather benign. It will be unscrupulous people who will exploit the technology to gain an advantage over others.

    So how's this for philosophical? If anything, I think the concept of “social media” represents a shift in the overall human mindset. Drawing a bit from my psychology background, we have a very strong urge to protect our “self,” the core of who we are. I'd like to suggest that social media is slowly breaking down that barrier of self. Now, to what degree social media may break down that barrier is up to us.

    Personally, I try to balance what I share through social media and the time I spend on it. I try (mostly) to be active during the week, and a little less so on the weekends. I've also started to edit a bit what I tweet out there – sometimes I leave out some of my more random ponderings.

  35. You bring up a couple interesting points Tim.

    1) Your recognize that the IPhone makes you more efficient from a business perspective. You could have stopped there (although I'm glad you didn't). Ultimately, if you are getting that kind of value from it, that's all that matters. Keep doing it if it's making you more efficient and ultimately more successful.

    2) The dad thing – Which, congratulations again by the way, that is so cool and I'm so excited for you and Beth. It makes me wonder how I'll be when I'm a Dad. Like you, I'll want my kid to understand technology and use it to their advantage, hell – like we are with our parents, I'm sure they'll “get it” better than us some day. But, I don't want it to run their lives, I want them to appreciate the “good ol days” and the benefit of unplugging and enjoying life without all the tech.

    The more I think about it, the more I understand why my parents were the way they were when it came to pulling me away from playing Donkey Kong and Duck Hunt for hours on end when I was younger. Fun as it may be, there's much more to life than shooting fake ducks on a screen (I cheated anyway and pressed the gun up to the monitor anyway).

    Maybe that analogy made sense…no? :)

  36. Yes…so it's good to know I'm not flying solo without an Iphone to guide my way :)

    I absolutely 100% agree with what you are saying here – maybe you've noticed it in the past couple weeks with my own posts here on Life Without Pants. Like many, I'm going through that “online” transition – It has served me very very well and I wouldn't be where I am today without being so active on the web, but now I'm starting to appreciate more and more the value of disconnecting and unplugging. Not sure what's in the water, but a lot of people are drinking it and it's pretty fascinating to see so many shifting more and more in that direction…Any clue why so many are going with that new mindset?

  37. Wow this is an interesting post! I won't get into all things iphone and connectedness in general but what I do find interesting is our ability to create relationships that aren't real. Because technology allows us to follow one another and our day to day happenings we often feel that we have relationships with a multitude of people. Humans need actual interaction not just via skype, facebook chat, etc. although technology is great we are often times depriving ourselves of authentic connections with others in so much that we don't actually spend time with one another face to face. On the other hand others would argue that social media is great because it does allow us to be connected to others in a multitude of ways not just face to face.

    My point is that what you have written and others have commented on is becoming great research topics for social scientist (like me) who are trying to determine the effect that social media has on the development of relationships, the way we communicate, and even issues such as self esteem and depression.

  38. Haha, Duck Hunt was great! ;)

    Beth didn't really have video games growing up (and actually her family didn't get cable until just a few years ago). She's said many times that she doesn't want the little guy playing video games and I'm in agreement for the most part. I believe there is some (necessary) creative stimulation associated with almost every medium, when used in moderation.

    I have a friend that has played video games 24/7 all his life and his family feeds that habit. I definitely don't want my kid becoming like that. But once in a while? I think that's ok. We'll see, though, I'm sure my perspective will evolve over time.

    Yes, I want my kid to understand what video games are and take a swing or two at playing them.
    Yes, I want my kid to understand what a computer is and how it may apply to his life.

    But more importantly, I want to take my kid camping, to experience those amazing sounds in the morning when you wake up in your tent to the sun streaming in, when the birds are chirping and the temperature is just perfect. You just can't beat that.

  39. 1) Does the myTouch have an actual keyboard or is it touch screen? Call me old fashioned, but I like having the actual “keyboard' on the Blackberry.

    2) Shoot, am I behind on my lingo too?

    3) We've got to get together soon – and you have to introduce me to your buddy Craig (aka Wheezy Waiter) – was extremely behind jumping on that bandwagon as well – hilarious stuff.

  40. Agreed – I have NOTHING against IPhones, at all – this post wasn't to take a stab at IPhone users (at all). So let's swing the teeter-totter back toward the real issue here…

    I like your points about the “benefits” of knowing where people are and what they're doing – as scary as it may seem, it can also be extremely rewarding and helpful – it's all about balancing the pros and cons internally to determine what's best for you. I struggle with the balance myself – I see a ton of value in being very involved online, but I also see it backfiring and becoming the priority when it really shouldn't.

    We'll figure it out's a work in progress, without a doubt. I appreciate your comment here.

  41. Agreed – IPhone may or may not monopolize the market in the future, but we're seeing a clear shift toward EVERYONE having a smart phone – before too long, some form of smart phones will be the default base-line product for all carriers (if they aren't already – admittedly I'm out of touch when it comes to mobile devices).

    So, as someone who represents in SM marketing for restaurants, FourSquare is probably a big part of your day, no? How do you see something like FourSquare effecting clients you are working with, and what barriers of entry do you see for folks like me who haven't bought in?

  42. I've commited the double-sin. I'm on AT&T and DON'T have an IPhone…yeah, kill me now.

    RE: FourSquare – the most I'll ever become is someone who uses it selectively to get deals – the rest is way too excessive for my taste.

    And above all, kudos for having that TRUE balance in your life – we can all learn a lot from someone like you – I sway back and forth but am constantly working for that perfect balance myself of doing my work and doing the things I love online, and spending plenty of time disconnected and away from everything.

  43. Well, no actually, not a huge part of every day. We're starting to see it picking up in popularity for the restaurants I work for, but the demographics that each venue appeals to is a huge factor for things like FourSquare. Also, FourSquare recently opened up the ability to claim business listings, access analytics info, etc. so it will hopefully be an even more useful tool in the neat future!

  44. That is a tough question and I am far from thinking I have the answer. However, digital has always been an extension of our analog lives and if we didn't go out, didn't meet people, we wouldn't have pictures to post on Facebook. Maybe, now we are getting bored with it. Maybe, we are learning to appreciate our analog lives more than our digital ones. Or maybe, we are looking for a replacement, the next cool and hip thing.

  45. Yeah landlines still trip me out. Once cellphones got so cheap (my first cell came in a bag to hold the battery pack, had a cord to the handset and cost like 5 bucks a minute to call anyone), it made no sense to have a phone that you can only use at home.

    I still laugh when someone asks me to fax them something…

  46. I'm pretty sure I openly admitted to cheating and Track & Field as well somewhere in an old post (totally used my hands instead of, you know, actually being somewhat physically active as a child…lol)

    I agree with you 100% here – I honestly don't know what kind of Dad I'll be (I don't think anyone knows that until they're actually living that moment) – Video games are cool and all, but there's much more to life, and I want my kid to understand that, through and through. Everything has it's place.

    You mention camping a lot – I LOVE camping…so with that being said, I think we should plan a trip somewhere in the next couple months before it gets too blazing hot…

  47. I was a Boy Scout growing up (Eagle Scout, woot woot, heh) and lucky enough to be part of a VERY active troop that went on monthly trips camping and doing all sorts of other fun outdoors activities (canoeing, whitewater rafting, rock climbing, backpacking, summer camp, glacier climbing, etc). Looking back, I'm glad my parents insisted I stay involved as I had some amazing experiences I know not everybody gets the chance to have.

    I'm all for camping! This summer's a little tough but maybe we can do a Chicago guys weekend or something?

  48. There is no definitive answer but I agree with you here – we're looking for the next best thing, and maybe that next best thing doesn't exist yet so…we're going back to basics and deciding that the next best thing might be what's been there right in front of us all along…It's interesting to watch this mindset shift, only time will tell where we'll end up next.

  49. Well, you can always just “not do it” – I know personal willpower comes into play here, but I kind of like having a phone that literally forces me to not do it, because I can't, or at least not conveniently. I know that probably sounds completely ridiculous and weird to a lot of folks out there, but it is what it is I suppose…

  50. No doubt it will be – being able to track the analytics and activity of people who are checking in. We talk about the value of targeting market influencers – what better way than to literally see who's doing business with you, and then being able to reach out and have a one-on-one impact on that specific individual. The marketing potential is huge, I guess we just need more people like me to shut up and buy in already :) Once I'm being offered free food, drinks, coffee, etc, It's on like Donkey Kong (second DK reference in these comments).

  51. Haha.. certainly not an argument about superior mobile device…I'm sure my argument for Blackberry wouldn't hold up very well to the arguments for IPhone.

    It's so funny that things have sort of come full circle, even since I started blogging a little over a year ago. You used to see countless posts about transparency and putting yourself out there – and while I still think that is critically important, now preaching that comes with a disclaimer or footnote that says “You need to be transparent, but also conscious of what you're putting out there”. While there wasn't that “but” before – it's popping up all over the place now.

    A lot to think about – I'm loving this discussion – thanks for stopping by to comment Jonathan!

  52. Great thoughts here Rachel. Thank you for sharing them.

    I see Social Media as a great initial point of contact with many people – I also see it as a great way to nurture “real” relationships (to an extent) over time. But, ONE hour of coffee with someone is equivalent to MANY tweets, emails, Skype conversations, etc. It's an entirely different playing field. I'm worried that we're seeing a dramatic decline in the old “meeting up for coffee” style meeting and we're seeing an increase in “Well, it's just more convenient to e-mail them”.

    That scares me a bit – and it's never what I want to become – I'll continue pushing people to “actually” meet with me when possible…

  53. Haha NICE! What ever happened to car phones, by the way? I remember EVERYONE used to have one of those…maybe Tim (Jahn) is right with his comment…maybe all of this is more of a fad than I realize…

  54. Nah, you're not the last person alive without an iPad ;) I agree with you. There are days when I can go without looking at the computer and then there are days like today, where I will Tweet every hour on the hour and leave comments at all the interesting posts of the day.

    I'm glad my family aren't the social media types. Thank God! I think a happy medium needs to be achieved here.

  55. OK Now IPads are an entirely different story. Talk about something that serves no purpose (even if it is really really cool). No thanks. I'll stick with my laptop….but I digress. To your point, it's important to have that balance, and I'm the same way – there are days when I'm 100% focused on work and don't do any writing/reading/tweeting (or at least very little) and others, like today, where' I'm very active in the comments and love every minute of these conversations…All about balance.

  56. Matt,

    In our few skype conversations we've touched on things kind of related to this. I'm a recent iphone convert. Up until about a month ago, I didn't even have a smart phone. On the one hand it's amazing, and it's cool to be so connected. On the other, as somebody who works in social media for a living, I feel like it never turns off. The idea of going off the grid is kind of like “hey I'm going to prison, see you in a few.”

    As for the future, it's both exciting and scary. One of the greatest things we have today is that we aren't really limited by technical knowledge. Anybody with a good idea can get out there and make it happen. But this constantly connected thing is really kind of freakish. Regarding 4Square, I think the hospitality industry is about to benefit tremendously from everything that is going on related to Foursquare. Foursquare is still in its infancy in terms of what we'll be able to do with it from a business perspective.

  57. I almost got up and left that Social Media Breakfast when you pulled out a Blackberry…

    But seriously, I use foursquare on and off. Half for fun, and half to annoy the wife. For me it's just for fun – seeing where friends check in, etc. One guy that uses it really well is Ramon De Leon (@Ramon_DeLeon). He owns a bunch of Domino's Pizza franchises in the city, and regularly communicates and hooks up the “mayors” of his businesses. And I guess it's *free* advertising for him whenever someone checks into one of his shops.

    For the future, I think social media will just continue to grow, and it'll be more and more important for business. The low entry costs coupled with the ability to drill down and target specific demographics will make it a mainstay for marketers – once enough of us prove to them that Facebook and Twitter aren't just for telling people what you're eating for lunch…

  58. Agreed, there's a lot of untapped potential there with FourSquare but I think we'll only see it continue to ramp up in the coming months. Also, I'm siding with the freakish thing for now – I just haven't quite bought in that knowing what everyone's doing all the time is a good thing…not that we have things to hide, just…not really picking up on why it's “fun” or interesting to know where everyone is at all times…

  59. Haha, I thought I would have been smart enough not to reveal it at Social Media Breakfast :) Stupid me…

    The low entry costs (and this is something I talk about in detail in my Social Media Workshops) is both a blessing and a curse. Because of the low barriers of entry, everyone can do it (which is great) – but because of the low barriers of entry…well, everyone is doing it (not so good). In short, there's a lot of noise and crap to weed through, so again, it's both a blessing and a curse.

    Ramon is doing great things with Social Media, no doubt about that. Also, Foursquare usage is 100% permitted for annoying spouses…

  60. I can totally relate to how you're feeling. I feel like I'm pretty plugged in but there are some things I just can't get into – Foursquare being one of them. And this weekend I was made to feel like a total dork when I learned that my mum now has an iPhone AND an iPod Touch. I love the connections that are made possible through social media and the internet but I agree that it's good and necessary to just unplug every once in awhile.

    I think that in the future, we'll just get more connected and privacy as we know it will go out the window. I'm sure then there'll be some sort of backlash and counter-culture produced by it similar to the minimalist movement that is gaining speed now. For me, I like being able to pick and choose what & how I share so I'm not too sure I'm looking forward to automatic check-ins when I run into the grocery store. Great Post!


  61. I'm not a social media expert by any means, but I believe that increased personalization through social media only works if there is a purpose, something useful to me, as the user. I constantly check into Facebook, gmail, etc because it allows me connect with my friends everywhere is a simple and convenient way. I love Facebook's new Social Graph because it makes every site more efficient and personalized to me. Why spend time looking at books. clothes, articles, etc that would never interest me anyway? However, having social media and geolocation services that provide no direct benefit to the user are doomed to fail in the long. At least in my opinion.

    And it must be a cumulative benefit. I can deal with the risk of running into someone “accidentally” if there is some other benefit, whether it be connecting easily with other friends, or a discount because I'm using foursquare or following a group on twitter, etc, as long as those potential benefits outweigh the potential cons. And since some things are best kept private (I think it's healthy), the cost of losing privacy must be outweighed by the benefits. Ultimately, I just don't see why automatically knowing when I'm taking a shower, or what I ate for dinner, provides a great enough benefit to outweigh the privacy cost.

  62. i'm about to unfriend someone who has 4square connected to facebook – it's almost as bad as the facebook game updates for which i have unfriended non-stop players. I don't care that you're at some airport – I'd rather hear that on your facebook update with some interesting reason why you're posting it. We' ve all learned not to update facebook with “i just ate lunch” so why is 4square ok with “i just visited starbucks”? I don't get it

    as for blackberry – the Tour with 3G has a pretty fast browser. It's annoying that you have to zoom in on every page because the default size is ultra tiny – but it gets the job done when you need to visit a site on the road and it opens PDF's and other documents. So other than screen size Ill happily stick with my bb – although watching a ball game on the iPhone is pretty cool.

  63. The future could be glorious, Matt.
    I imagine having holographic mini-computers – cellphone, notebook and teleporter (?) included.
    I would just type into the 3 dimensional air and get an instant digital response – pretty much the world in my palms. That would be aweeeeeesome !

  64. You highlighting the minimalist movement is very important Nailah – this is something I'm seeing that is gaining a lot of steam – this “less is more” mentality is spreading like wildfire and to be honest, I'm on board. I think that we'reliving in a world of excess and CONSTANT connectivity and to be blunt, I want out – I want to reduce the amount of stuff I have weighing me down, both materialistically and figuratively. I won't wax philosophical on you, but I see a clear trend moving in the minimalist direction…

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting – just followed you on Twitter, look forward to keeping in touch!

  65. Well, none of us are experts (at all) Rachel – so welcome to the club :)

    I side with you here – the pro doesn't outweigh the cons, in my opinion. I value my privacy and like I make clear in the post above, there's a lot to be said, in my mind, for having that disconnect. I do agree that Social Media has many, many benefits – it allows all of us to keep in touch – it allows us to build STRONG relationships we'd never have the opportunity to otherwise – and it keeps my mind sharp. But it's also very noisy, there's a lot of repetition, and it's easy to tell yourself you need it more than you actually do…

    Good thoughts here Rachel – thanks for stopping by and taking the time to share!

  66. Haha….I'm not even sure how to follow up to this one Mars…but, yes, if the future is like that, 3D typing and all, then yes…the future is looking pretty bright, lol.

  67. I was shocked when I read the title. You are not the only person without an iPhone. I have an old beat up Nokia that has served me well for almost five years.

  68. mom is one of those “game-players”…not sure how she would feel if I unfriended her, lol…

    And you make a great point here – we're past the point of saying “ate a sandwich” on Facebook, so why the need or WANT to disclose that information on Foursquare? Like you, I don't really get it either…

    Hope you've been doing well Rob!

  69. It's funny. The cheaper the phone, the longer it lasts – at least that's what I've found over the years. My $20 flip phone lasted me a good 4 years without a hitch, until I dropped it in water…water will kill even the best of em'.

  70. Couldn't agree more. That is why I started my website, Social media and technology won't go away but we are relying on them far too much. The site will ultimately grow to cover various areas where perhaps having some in person and non social media action will benefit people. Our ability to do things offline and in person diminish more and more by the day and we need to ensure that those skills never get lost.

  71. I actually don't have an iPhone either. but people who know me wouldn't be surprised.

    I remember going to this talk during college that I thought would be interesting. Something about information architecture or some sort of technology thing. Little did I know the talk would be more about the latest cell phones and hummers (remember when they were popular?). I was disgusted. It reaked of our consumerist society that I abhor. I hate when people look at you like a barbarian because you're not “in” on the latest gadgets. Absolutely hate it. That's why I'd rather choose to stick with my non-conformist self and be (relatively) tech-free. That being said, I want a droid.. Since iPhones are all the rage, I prefer its competitor. ;)

  72. I have a Blackberry – never had an i-phone. I also have a Creative Media MP3 player, not an i-pod. I'm not anti-Apple at all, I just like to explore the alternatives and I guess there's still a little rebel streak in me that means I don't want to be a sheep <G>. As for using the phone for web apps, etc I spend 10 hours a day in my office staring at a laptop, then normally a couple of hours at home staring at a laptop too. Any time I'm not staring at a laptop I don't want to be staring at a phone or trying to type on a tiny touch screen! Social media is definitely the future but there's mnore to life as well. I'm a big advocate of trying to avoid information overload so my phone stays on silent and my e-mail is only picked up on my laptop WHEN I WANT TO READ IT….. ahem, I'm OK now….

  73. I don't have an i-phone and neither a blackberry, infact I am enjoying life with a classic Nokia handset with the old fashioned basic functions :)
    I know I sound stale and vintage, but I grab my scoop of social media at my darling laptop, giving a sound sleep to my mobile at all those hours.

    You've got a fantastic blog here, I am here to stay :D :D
    Keep p the fantastic work :D


  74. So I admit that I had an iPhone in California and I would say my dependence on it was thisclose to addiction. Now that I'm in France, I've turned the iPhone permanently off. I was quite happy without a cell phone at all, but I gave in today and picked up the cheapest go-phone possible. Honestly? It's quite freeing to not have email, Facebook, Twitter at my fingertips. When I'm in line somewhere, I have to…wait. If I get lost, I have to figure it out. I'm not constantly connected, which has really allowed me to enjoy life–as cliche as that sounds. I'm sort of dreading the day I head home and my iPhone gets turned back on…

  75. No iPhone here. However I do plan on getting one (maybe ill regret it).

    I do agree with you on disconnecting. I plan on taking some technology detoxes in near future. Doesn't hurt to disconnect for a bit.

    Mobile marketing is about to explode! Its going to be a scary thing, we will see how effective it is.

  76. Like what you have going with “Do It In Person” Aron, and I agree – technology isn't going anywhere, but like you said, I'm worried that we're becoming FAR too dependent on it. It's going to take people like you and others here to make sure that the 'old school' approach never completely dies…Thanks for stopping by!

  77. Hey Floreta – great to see you around here again – hope you've been doing great!

    And wait, Hummers aren't popular anymore? Haha, I feel like the only people who drive Hummers these days are Soccer Moms and douchebags (sorry to all Hummer owners here…just an observation). And way to rebel against the status quo – DROIDS for the win!

  78. I need to personally get a lot better about limiting my e-mail time – I sit here and work all day but have my Gmail open throughout the day and get in a bad habit of responding to emails as they come on – too much of that can really have a negative impact on productivity. I digress, but yes, we could all do well by unplugging a little more often.

  79. Doesn't sound like a bad gig at all to me – sounds like you've got a great head on your shoulders. Thanks so much for the kind words, glad to have you hear and happy to hear you like what you see. Look forward to staying in touch!

  80. I agree that we're on the brink of a mobile marketing explosion – there's a lot of exciting potential and good things on the horizon, but a lot I wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole…

  81. Exactly…this is exactly how I feel. With so much connectivity at our disposal constantly, life is flying before your eyes, passing by while you're staring down at your phone checking e-mail and tweeting to everyone. Technology should be used in a way that improves the quality of life, but more and more often it appears to be doing more harm than good…

  82. Hmmm…not sure why I am faceless. Anyway, ok so Big Brother maybe a little too dramatic, yes, but I just wanted to have a literary reference in my comment and I couldn't think of a better one. Sometimes I wonder if we share too much. As much fun as it is to collect badges and tell people we are at the gym, do people really need to know? Do they really need to know where I am all day long? Does updating all of these online apps take our focus away from important things, such as work or IRL relationships?

  83. Hey Matt,

    I'm no iPhone User, but I am a Palm Pre+ user. I don't use many apps besides facebook, the occasional twitter app, evernote (ace at taking notes on the fly!), and Google Maps – oh, and, by the way, I also use it as a phone too! It seems like people forget that you can actually talk with people on your smartphone and don't have to be at home so you can skype someone :)

    But I don't see the impending obliteration of privacy that you see. The great thing about the online world is that the world only sees as much of you as you put out there (sans random people tagging embarrassing pictures of you on facebook). So your followers can only know that you just checked-in to the shower if you send out a tweet/foursquare check-in that says you're in the shower. Luckily, most people on twitter – I should say, most people who know how to use twitter effectively – don't tweet stuff like that.

    But I realize that you meant that the erasure of privacy will occur when the ONE social network comes out, which will probably combine facebook/linkedin/twitter/foursquare/DISQUS/ and so on, so everyone has ONE online profile. To that… I hope the programmers of that behemoth have privacy settings built in, so only your friends (or even a subset of your friends) can see where you've checked-in or your status updates or whatever.

    A more likely scenario, I think, is that there will never be this one social network – or, at least, it will not survive for long. I think every social network is bound to fail at some point – but maybe facebook and twitter will prove me wrong. When things get too big and bloated on the Web, there are enough savvy people who will take their services elsewhere – and try and build a better website.

    For that reason, I think – and hope – your fears won't come true.

  84. Hey Matt!
    i'm still rockin' a Razr. With a cracked screen. Chew on that. I totally get where you're coming from and I agree. But if I really need an iFix, my son and sister have iPhones and my daughters each have an iTouch, which is basically an iPhone without the headaches. This is the way my world is divided: my cell phone is for family, medical, and coffee orders for the office. Facebook is for friends I actually know IRL, and Twitter is for all the people i WISH i knew IRL. I spend enough time online. Every time I check my aol email, I get sucked into the news on PopEater. If i had an iPhone, i would not have a life. But ya gotta admit they're cool.

  85. I'm starting to think it might – hence the “holy crap the future scares me” and the “Big Brother” reference. Honestly I don't think that we're too far off from that – for every friend who is watching when you check into Starbucks, the same can be said for the government, mega corporations, etc…What benefit the government would get from seeing you check in to the gym…I'm not sure, but it proves that we're moving closer and closer to a world where you're watched every single step of the way.

    Maybe dramatic…or maybe true? I'm not sure…

  86. Ahhh yes the ol' Razr, we all had one (apparently some still do ;) ) and they all had cracked screens…

    All these things are cool, agreed…but they can REALLY suck you in and totally kill your productivity or, you know, even just getting out and seeing daylight. The biggest suck for me is e-mail. I don't want to be that guy who has an auto-response saying I only check my emails at 9 and 4, but I also need to be able to shut it off and check it periodically instead of having it open 24/7 to instantly reply to e-mails. Easier said than done, but again, it's all about self-discipline.

    Thanks for the comment – hope you've been doing great over in your neck of the woods.

  87. I don't at all think Twitter and Facebook are the end all be all of Social Media – just like Myspace has come and (pretty much) gone, the same evolution will continue to take place – when one network gets too many bells and whistles, we look for something that is more simple and streamlined (to the point where we're actually LIMITED to what we can say (in characters) on Twitter. It's an interesting minimalist trend we've seen over and over again.

    I hope you're right, honestly…I'm not sure. As much as you're right – that the only stuff out there is what WE put out there – “society” is telling us more and more than to be at the “cool kids table” you have to be participating in these trends. They'll always be those of us who reject that – and sit off to the side talking about how terrifying it is and how privacy is out the window, but there's even more who will “buy in” (why is Foursquare as popular as it is already?)

    A lot to think about – thank you for the thought-provoking comment, you really got the wheels of thought in motion for me…

  88. On being too plugged in:

    Information Overload is the newest factor when it comes to the future of social media. Now that there's so much information out there- we can't process it or handle it- part of it thanks to the ability to condense it into one platform in an effort to control it:

    Too many unread blogs on Google Reader
    Facebook is now a ticker of status messages and actions- and maybe we care about those select few
    There is no way to read every Tweet on your timeline- but don't you try sometimes?

    As a reaction we are all finding ways to cull out what we don't want and just read what we need.

    Don't know where to get the best news on Tech? Try Alltop.

    Too many commercials on TV? Skip it on your DVR. (Don't you know somebody who watches TV 15 minutes late so they can skip through the commercials on the DVR?)

    Think about how many services are out there that try to aggregate and filter? That's where the future of social media is- finding out how to control it as we simultaneously find new forms of information to share (geolocation.)

    On Privacy:

    Privacy changed the minute we joined Facebook. Soon privacy will change to where information is online whether you choose to connect or not. We demand better controls from our social networks. We read and learn about how people will create websites to show you how dangerous it is to be on Foursquare. The big issue with privacy is that so many of us choose to forgo it in order to enjoy the benefits of being connected that we've forever changed what privacy is.

  89. I just have a regular ol' cell phone. And I've even cut down on how much I use it because of trying to be a more focused driver and not talking while driving. I hardly text it takes me too long. So I'm happy don't feel the need to be connected all the time and am annoyed by people who are not present in the moment because they are too busy looking at the little screen.

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