The rise in mobile computing among us has been astounding. Smartphone owners are using more mobile-based applications today over previously higher rates of web browser applications. As an example, Yelp says that almost half of Yelp user search start with their mobile devices. Real estate research site Zillow is already past the halfway mark for percentages of users who search for homes with their smartphones.
Doesn’t Matter How You Connect
These increases are happening everywhere. From social video-sharing apps like Vine and Instagram, to social network use on Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus, It’s clear that our lives are becoming mobile-connected in supercharged ways. No matter which platform you might connect with your networks — an always popular iPhone, an Android model with sweet features or the new powerful Blackberry 10Q — mobile is there for you.
Numbers are Up for Companies, Too
And for the companies providing such mobile connectivity and information, their numbers are going through the roof.
Facebook recently published explosive second-quarter earnings because of a huge increase in mobile advertising. Users are clicking Facebook’s mobile ads to the tune of $656 million, according to the Wall Street Journal. That’s nearly double the $375 million is mobile advertising sales from 2013’s first quarter. It’s 11 percent higher than last year’s Q2 numbers, and a huge 41 percent of its entire ad sales business.
During the announcement, CEO Mark Zuckerberg noted that Facebook’s growth is because of how we are moving toward mobile. The fresh-faced CEO said Facebook has more active users per day via their mobile devices than on their desktops. And he added the company will soon monetize more of its work via mobile.
How Our Lives are Changing
As a percentage of all user visits, mobile usage is rising ever higher. Users have their phones with them at all times, and our mobile apps are just a few taps away. How has this changed our lives? In so many ways, we’ve been enriched.
- Quicker access to information
- Always (theoretically) reachable
- Connected to the world’s digital grid
- Smarter humans as a result
- Less human empathy and sharing
- Less connected to human touch
- Less social in real life (but more social online)
- Slower activities falling among our interest
Another Disadvantage: Possible Death
Researchers have pointed to other society ills as a result of our mobile connectivity desires. Far more road accidents involving driver distractions are occurring. The Huffington Post notes statistics like an 143 percent increase in New York state from cell phone related auto accidents from 2005 to 2011. And the National Highway Traffic Safety Association counted 3,331 automobile deaths as a result of distracted drivers in 2011. That’s an increase from 2010’s 3,267 such deaths.
As a society coming to grips with our attention on mobile devices’ connectivity and the trade-off between longstanding human values, we’ll need to make sure we are compensating for everything we’re losing by using smartphones. Keeping a balance is essential, as we do not want to look back in 10 years wondering, “What if?”