When was the last time you were in a meeting and someone said, “I’ll look into that and get back to you”? Anymore, this scenario is rare, thanks to the mobile devices we all carry. We go to meetings with the world at our fingertips.
And when was the last time you interacted with someone who didn't carry a mobile device? It’s practically unheard of. There are currently 6.2 billion mobile subscribers worldwide. And remember, earth’s population is only 7 billion. Mobile subscribers are set to outpace the population by the next summer Olympics (2016).
Mobile devices are becoming synonymous with breathing — they are always on. Over time, could it be possible that humans might become less knowledgeable due to the speed and accessibility of information? Living with this “always on” technology provides instant access to answers. It also challenges what has been considered required learning until now.
Will elementary students always need to remember that in “1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue”? Or might it be acceptable to be familiar with the role Columbus played in American history, while leaving the details (like dates) to Siri? With respect to my educator friends, I wouldn’t care to predict when this might happen, but I admittedly find it conceivable.
So what does this mean for your brand?
- Creating a strong presence in mobile is more important than any other channel. If you're doing anything, do mobile. Don’t just think apps, think multiple apps.
- Provide desirable industry-specific information to your constituents via mobile strategies. This will give you an advantage — findability. Focus your efforts on providing branded answers to common questions within the scope of your industry. Be the go-to source for relevant information, and provide it for users on the go.
- Create a specific mobile strategy to help those within your organization better understand mobile trends. Repurposing existing web tools will not be adequate for mobile. A mobile strategy leverages information for mobility's sake. What does it mean to access information on the go? What information is uniquely mobile for your brand? Build around that.
A few more thoughts on how mobile impacts learning ...
At the start of my first year in high school, my favorite teacher took the time to explain the importance of what it means to "learn how to learn," rather than only focusing on what is being taught. This idea of how to learn changed my entire outlook on education, and I am thankful for her insight (and better grades).
The fact that textbooks have existed for many years does not support the idea that simply having access to information eliminates the need for learning the information. However, the reality of how fast we access information ultimately impacts the learning process, which is different for everyone; and therein lies the question. Whether the information is stored in our mind or in our hand, it comes down to how fast we can access it and what we can do with it once we have it. The fact remains: information doesn’t infer knowledge, just as knowledge doesn’t infer wisdom.