Smartphones, Tablets Change How We Use Social

jessicaschilling
Jessica Schilling Social Media Specialist, The World Company

Posted on May 13th 2011

What did you do this morning after your alarm went off - other than hit the snooze button? If you've got a smartphone, a new study says, there's about a one-in-three chance that you switched on your phone and loaded up an app. And if you're in that group, chances are also pretty good that you checked Twitter, Facebook or some other social networking app; 18 percent of those users, for example, logged onto Facebook before they got out from under the covers.

While it's kind of a silly statistic (and, if you're a diehard Facebooker, maybe an obvious one), there are a few key points to take from the study, which was commissioned by Ericsson Consumer Labs (yes, as in "Sony Ericsson," the phone manufacturer - you can download the PDF here). One vital thing to note is something that isn't even in the survey at all: It ignores how much we use our smartphones as, well, phones, compared to the myriad other things we do with these little magic bricks we keep in our pockets and purses. After all, how many of us actually make a call to relay the sorts of "I'm running late" messages that cell phones were originally sold on? These days a "be there in five" is more likely to come via text or tweet.

So maybe we all know that we're using our smartphones to get online much, much more than we used to - and it's not tied to being at home, at work or near our laptops - but what does that mean about our overall usage patterns? For one thing, all that old marketing advice about optimizing the best times of day to reach your audience may not be quite as valid any more. Check out this (maybe a little oversimplified) chart from the Ericsson survey:

Now, that's not to say that time-of-day use has leveled out completely, especially if you're offering a product, service or app that itself has a strong timeliness component. (As a news organization, LJWorld.com is no exception - our daily traffic figures certainly show peaks and valleys that correspond with how you'd expect people would want to use a newspaper.) What it does mean, though, is that as you're promoting your product or cause online, it may be worth concentrating a bit less on optimizing the times of day you speak and thinking a little more about what sort of device people might be on when you're doing it. This could mean a lot of things: Don't throw your audience a link to a third-party page that you know breaks on your phone's browser. Don't assume that someone on a smartphone has the time or the technical know-how to bookmark a link or save something to look at later. Ask yourself how someone on the go might react to your message, and see if there's a way it might be useful or fun for them to interact with it via their phone.

Also, keep in mind that while the number of people looking at your stuff on a tablet might be small now, it's certainly on the rise; when people surveyed were asked what their next gadget purchase would be, a tablet came in third (13 percent) after a new laptop (16 percent) and smartphone (19 percent). If you consider that the iPad is only a little over a year old, that's a pretty significant ranking. Plus, those tablet owners are using their new devices in a manner that's more like how they interact with a phone than with a computer, particularly when it comes to usage over the course of a day.

How about you - is a tablet on your wish list? If you already have one, do you use it more like a little laptop or a big smartphone? And (just because we're curious) do you use your tablet or smartphone before you get out of bed in the morning?

This post originally appeared on the Lawrence Journal-World social media blog.

jessicaschilling

Jessica Schilling

Social Media Specialist, The World Company

Jessica Schilling does social media for The World Company, publisher of the Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World, WellCommons.com, SunflowerHorizons.com, LawrenceMarketplace.com and more.
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Comments

Posted on May 13th 2011 at 2:50PM

Hi Jessica, nice post!

I just bought iphone 3 weeks ago and now I am an addict. There is something really nice walking around town with the internet always in your pocket :)

A tablet is definetely on my wish list. I believe that eventually everybody will have one, so why not be one of the early-adaaptors for a change?

:)

Katrina Haring
Posted on May 13th 2011 at 3:34PM

Wow, I can not hide anything, from anyone. I thought I was the only one who know that I jumped on my Tab, every morning.

I check my email, Facebook, read the news, and THEN I roll out of bed.

I use my Tab as a small lap top. I keep files on it, use it for presentations, use it as a GPS, and those are just a few uses.

Now, with all that being said, I do love my Tab, but I do come from the generation when cell phones had just been invented, and when I look back, if someone would have told me that I would be waking up and on a small computer, first thing every morning, I would have thought they were crazy.

Great post. Thanks. :)

Katrina Haring
Posted on May 13th 2011 at 3:34PM

Wow, I can not hide anything, from anyone. I thought I was the only one who know that I jumped on my Tab, every morning.

I check my email, Facebook, read the news, and THEN I roll out of bed.

I use my Tab as a small lap top. I keep files on it, use it for presentations, use it as a GPS, and those are just a few uses.

Now, with all that being said, I do love my Tab, but I do come from the generation when cell phones had just been invented, and when I look back, if someone would have told me that I would be waking up and on a small computer, first thing every morning, I would have thought they were crazy.

Great post. Thanks. :)

Posted on May 13th 2011 at 3:53PM
I admit I check my Twitter & email before I get out of bed. My phone now stands in place of an alarm clock so it's right at my bedside. I also have an iPad. Kids use it mostly but I enjoy it with the much larger screen. I tend to use it more at night as I'm surfing in bed or reading a book from my tablet. I see that my wrist/ arm don't hurt anymore as in the past I've spent many hours on the computer. That's one advantage that tablets have.
jessicaschilling
Posted on May 13th 2011 at 5:15PM

Thanks for all the nice comments, everyone! I have to admit I'm pretty welded to my iPhone, but ever time I've borrowed our department iPad, I just haven't been able get into using it ... I'm waiting for the miracle app that makes me march down to the store and buy a tablet right this minute.

Of course, I still want one regardless.

Posted on May 15th 2011 at 12:45PM

yeah, this makes perfect sense: the internet usage is evenly distributed throughout the day as we have our smartphones with us all times. Not like a PC. 

I'm not sure how tablets will help or change internet usage habits though. At this point I see them as nothing else but "another shiny gadget" and don't see any productivity benefits using them.

Posted on August 26th 2011 at 10:23PM

It’s the apps that get me. I use my DISH Remote Access app pretty much everyday because I never get home in time to watch the TV shows that I love. I found out about this app from my job at DISH Network when they released the Sling Adapter last year. Anywhere I have Wi-Fi or mobile 3G network I’m able to watch live TV or my DVR recordings. Having the ability to be socially connected all the time is also a perk but with cool apps and offers like DISH’s to get a free Sling Adapter (http://bit.ly/kbum9m) getting a Smartphone or tablet is on the rise with no sign of stopping.