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…