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In the past 48 hours, I’ve seen no less than four front page articles from newspapers across the world, referring to the Instagram deal as “ushering in the age of mobile.”
In other news, I’m going to write an article about the coming age of jet travel.
Are you kidding me? The Instagram deal has NOTHING to do with “the age of mobile,” it has EVERYTHING to do with the age of CUSTOMER CHOICE.
Mobile isn’t new. You think that just because we now have the ability to take crappy sepia toned pictures of crap, 24 hours a day, that “all of a sudden, we want to be a mobile society?” We’ve ALWAYS wanted to be a mobile society.
The only difference is that now, for the first time, we have the technology to allow us to choose to that. Understand – We’ve been a mobile society since before the invention of the automobile.
Think back on the last fifteen interesting, post-worthy things that happened to you. I’ll bet 14 of them happened outside your home. Most of the world happens outside your home, along with most of the excitement. The stuff that happens in your home either isn’t worth posting, or isn’t acceptable to post. You rarely read “Brian totally found my G-spot tonight, off to sleep.” Well, maybe you do. I don’t know what kind of friends you have. But my point stands: The majority of stuff that is worth sharing, usually happens outside the home. And for the first time, we finally have the technology to keep up with it. We can finally, if we want to, choose to be truly mobile, and share life events as they happen, in real time, as opposed to waiting for the film to develop. Turns out, AT&T was only 20 years off, even if they did think that faxing would still be here, and even if they used Tom Selleck to do their voiceovers. (Which is an awesome trivia question, by the way)
So this Instagram deal isn’t a whole “eye into how the world is going to change to a mobile society.” We already have. We choose to share, and we choose to use companies that let us share, that take advantage of the technology that now finally exists that lets us share when we want to., as things happen. Primarily, that’s going to be outside, away from a wired connection. (Hence the reason I’ve never had high hopes for GetGlue. Really? Sharing that you’re watching Glee?) Where are you reading this? On an iPad on the subway? On your Android? The technology now lets us do whatever we want, wherever we are, whenever want to do it. Hence the reason I’m writing this on the roof of the Four Seasons Hong Kong. I could be in a subway, or in the mountains of Capri. IT DOESN’T MATTER. The technology is finally starting to get good enough to let us live our lives the way we’ve always wanted to, but haven’t been able to. We can CHOOSE to share things from 600 feet under a lake in Perth, Australia, because the technology finally lets us.
No one purchase will ever encapsulate “where society is headed.” By the time the purchase happens, we’re probably there already. All we can do is hope we made the right choices leading up to it.
Remember this: We’re a society built on wanting to share what we’re doing. Offer your customers a better way to do that, and the product will sell itself.