Friends tell me that I’m becoming too attached to the Internet. Indeed, whenever I bring my netbook in school (that’s everyday), I spend my free time trying to beat the Facebook block in school, checking my virtual mail, and surfing. However, I have a newly-found romance, and it all started when my mom gave me her Nokia N70 and after a few weeks her Samsung GT-B3410.
After my encounter with the Internet through B3410, it felt crazy – I was surfing on my way to school, during classes (heehee), during emergency, before going to sleep – anywhere at any time. I have to admit that the feeling is better than when I’m in front of my laptop; certainly, I feel no stress when I’m surfing the web via my phone.
Khite told me that mobile Internet will take over the whole world in the future. I don’t think it will in a few years’ time, but there’s some truth to the above statement. Strictly speaking, mobile Internet is access to the world wide web through a portable device like mobile phones, tablets, PSP, and iTouch. And as these devices become more and more affordable (Recently, Samsung launched a cheaper tablet to compete with the iPad, and in the Philippines, it just launched Champ, so far the cheapest web-enabled touchscreen phone at around Php 5,000 per unit.), mobile surfing will definitely gain more followers. Obviously, there are downsides to use of it, like smaller screen (which might be uncomfortable for some) and load reduction (if you are not on WiFi or on postpaid), but why is mobile surfing that attractive? Let me enumerate some reasons.
1. Results at your convenience
It surprised me when I saw that included in B3410’s menu is Google. Yes, the giant search engine is on my phone menu, alongside Messages, Call log, and Applications. I guess Yahoo and Google understand the power of the mobile Internet user, so they partner with mobile phone providers to have their sites automatically indexed. Having Google right there on the menu makes it easier for me to search for articles, open my Gmail, and be updated with the news.
2. Connected in no time
Not only Google is on my phone, but also MySpace, Facebook, Photobucket, Flickr, Picasa, and Friendster. No need for computer rental to check on your crush’s latest wall post, or to view that photo everyone is talking about online and offline. Plus, these social networking sites, among other websites, have pages specially for mobile devices, which adjust depending on the screen size.
3. Less hassle. Period.
Mobile Internet eases lives, really. Like when I was so down (and probably lazy) because I just finished (500) Days of Summer, I posted my status message on Facebook via mobile. Or when Kim, Anne, and I went to this school in Makati and we didn’t know which way to go, I accessed Google Maps via phone. And there are lots of other instances in my life which prove this point. My Php5.00 per 30 minutes definitely goes a long way every time I surf through my phone.
Now, being an OrCom major, I should dedicate this part of my post to how mobile Internet can help organizations, rather than fangirling for the rest of this. A professor told us when we were preparing for an interschool competition that we should not forget mobile Internet applications to supplement our promotion for the campaign. Indeed, with all its potential, there’s no way mobile web should be left out from the over-all package. How, then, can organizations use the rise of the mobile Internet to its advantage? Again, a few points from an individual’s perspective, based on my experience.
1. Optimizing device-friendly pages
I was trying to load this lifestyle-entertainment website on my phone because I saw a link of an interesting article from their Facebook page, but after x seconds of loading, my phone says “Page too large.” That sucks, big time. For organizations, please do consider making a mobile device-friendly page for us fanatics. And place your contact details on the first mobile page. For restos with delivery services, consider having a simple, HTML page of your menu and delivery number. That would help a lot, in my opinion.
2. Mobile advergaming
Applications and games are not limited on desktops or laptops – they can also be optimized for mobile devices so users can download them. Taylor Swift has a mobile application, Mix Me In2 Taylor Swift, which is available for download for iPod and iPad users, allowing them to remix Taylor’s songs into rock, hip hop, acoustic, and piano mixes. Amazing, right? Too bad I don’t own an i-device yet. Anyway, I think this allows for deeper engagement of target market/s (as Taylor’s app has been nominated for Best Music Engagement App by Billboard :] ).
3. Offering mobile downloads
Other downloads like mobile wallpapers, screensavers, jingles, multimedia messages, among others, can cater to everyone in the loyalty ladder (depending on how well-thought of and well-designed your wallpapers and MMS are). It’s also a simple, cost-efficient way to spread the word about your organization.
4. Connecting the offline to the online
A year ago, I came across the website of Flapjacks and there’s a sign-up form then, saying that if I fill out the form, I’d receive through SMS a mobile coupon that would give me Php200 discount on my next meal at Flapjacks. Of course I took the plunge, and it was worth it. Now while this example is not really on mobile Internet, I think the same method can be applied to such.
I’m sure that as mobile Internet gains popularity in the Philippines, more and more engagement tools will be reworked to fit the lifestyle of the mobile Internet user. What is important now is to recognize how the mobile web can be of aid in addressing the organizational need and what methods can be used to communicate with and know the mobile netizen.