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Mobile Phone Angst [Research]

new report from Pew Internet on mobile phone use has some good news and bad news. Not marketing-wise, but lifestyle stuff. I see myself in some of this, and I think that is the most disturbing. A few stats that have me scratching my head:

  • 67% of cell owners find themselves checking their phone for messages, alerts, or calls — even when they don’t notice their phone ringing or vibrating. Some 18% of cell owners say that they do this “frequently."
  • 44% of cell owners have slept with their phone next to their bed because they wanted to make sure they didn’t miss any calls, text messages, or other updates during the night.
  • 29% of cell owners describe their cell phone as “something they can’t imagine living without."

More interesting data:

"Despite this connection to their devices, most cell owners don’t worry too much (or get many complaints from their friends) about spending too much time with their phones:

  • 11% of cell owners say that they themselves sometimes worry that they are spending too much time with their phone.
  • 12% of cell owners say that people they know tell them that they are spending too much time using their phone.

Indeed, many cell owners hear complaints from friends that they don’t devote enough time to monitoring their mobile communications."

One phenomena I've seen in public attached to this batch of stats is what I call "mobile phone envy." If one person in a crowd takes out their mobile phone to check messages, others nervously fidget and then pull out their phones and do the same. I'm not sure what causes this, whether it's actual fear of being left out, the need to feel important, or what...but watch for it.

On the more serious side, given the umbilical nature of cell phones these days, how do we capitalize on that? Or maybe more importantly, how do we ease it? The old "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" comes to mind but then aren't we part of the problem? Or, is it a problem? Thoughts to ponder over the weekend. P.S. - how long can you go without looking at your phone?


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