How Mobile Are We?
Dr. Marcia J. Hootman

Last week, a friend went to the airport to pick up a family member. Ten years ago, she would probably have waited outside the baggage claim for several minutes, parked the car, walked over to the information desk in the lobby, and asked them to page him. Today, she texted his cell phone, discovered he was waiting at Exit door #3, and in less than five minutes, was on her way home, her uncle safely in the passenger seat.

Using mobile devices has simplified our lives in so many ways. The Pew Research Foundation published a study describing what they called, “Just in Time” uses:

  • Get up to the minute traffic info
  • Find help in an emergency situation
  • Decide which restaurant to visit
  • Look up the score of a sporting event
  • Co-ordinate a business meeting or a social meet up
Of course there is always light and dark in any situation. The study further states that 67% of cell owners check for messages even when the phone isn’t ringing or vibrating and almost 30% says their cell phone is something they can’t imagine not having. In fact, many people experience anxiety when they momentarily forget where their cell phone is- even in their own house. This is not a new phenomenon. We quickly became addicted to cars, TVs and Starbuck’s.

The mobile industry has changed how we shop. This is not restricted to ordering merchandise or services online. Years ago marketers discovered that last minute purchasers would look over the shelves of merchandise while waiting in the check-out line. So they installed shelves on the way to the cash register. Now they have to change their method, because most everyone in the check-out line is in check-in mode: checking Emails, text messages, the weather, etc.

A mobile device is becoming the number one place to do social networking, watching videos, reading and studying. And why not? Years ago we read outdated magazines waiting at the doctor’s office or the DMV. The longer we waited, the more upset we became. “Why is this taking so long?” “This is a waste of my precious time.” “I could be home getting some work done.” With our mobile device, our time can be spent doing either what we need to do or what we like to do. We can play the latest video game, read a book, watch a movie, text a donation to charity, research the topic of our next business meeting, find a place to hold the meeting, or we can open a meditation app and relax until we’re called.

Without a doubt, mobile devices are here to stay. The key is to make the best use of them based on your lifestyle. By downloading what are usually free apps, you can continue to do whatever used to require you to be at home, sitting at your desktop computer. If you haven’t yet joined the mobile revolution, get on board. Technology can make your life so much easier. And isn’t that what we would all desire?