As an award winning Manchester public relations agency we’re only too aware the way we live, work, and communicate has changed beyond recognition in the last 15 years. One look at the pages of our blog will provide countless examples with which to prove this point.
Yet despite the fact we’re now social media savvy, fully digitised 4G techies, the question of where these changes are taking us remains complex, and rather difficult to answer. A recent flight to Turkey providing one snapshot, with passengers sat in neat rows, all independently watching some kind of tablet- an image that’s unarguably impressive in terms of ‘how far we’ve come’, but also a little Orwellian.
Needless to say, everyone can appreciate the benefits of taking such technology onboard a standard holiday plane that isn’t showing movies for the five hour journey. But then there’s no denying recent years have seen a proliferation in the use of gadgetry whilst out and about proper, from table-side tweets mid-meal to iPads by the campfire. And not least here in Britain, the country currently at the top of the worldwide mobile data use list according to Ofcom, and home to some of the world’s most avid social networkers.
According to an article on BBC.co.uk today, one possible outcome of this could be the rise of digital addiction clinics, designed to cure us of our obsessive reliance on live streams and minute-by-minute information. It sounds extreme, but considering The Guardian ran its own story- Our digital addiction- back in 2008, perhaps this dependence is something we don’t really want to acknowledge, rather than the spurious ramblings of media commentators.
One interesting point raised during The Guardian’s version of events is the way mobile communication is different in the UK compared with other territories. The U.S., for example, had TV and broadband bundles in abundance long before British customers, whereas in Japan the language itself makes text messages somewhat problematic. This has resulted in computers still being the primary point of access to social media and email Stateside, whilst in the Far East calls far outweigh text messages in terms of popularity.
As such the assumption was made that mobile users in the UK are now more likely to consider their phone as a tool for non-oral communication, with PCs becoming less of a household requirement as we perform most of the same tasks without a cumbersome desktop, or even laptop. Which makes perfect sense, and even goes some way to explaining the rise in social networking amongst English, Welsh, Scottish and Irish residents, as their mobile access to such platforms has improved, and sheds a little light on how it’s possible for more data to be requested per mobile connection from these tiny islands compared with anywhere else on Earth. So then, are you a digital addict, or just a fan of information on the go? Answers on a postcard please…