For Christmas, i got my girlfriend an ipod touch. I noticed she’d taken quickly to my iphone and would often use the facebook app to send / read messages and look at weather updates etc…. However she rarely uses a computer so despite the fact that she *could* do all of this online, on a PC, she didn’t / doesn’t because it’s just too much hassle…
Portable = convenient
Now, she can get email alerts instantly, facebook updates instantly and tap an icon to get weather or get cinema listings. It’s easy, it’s portable… it’s convenient. No starting up a PC and waiting 30-60 seconds for a login screen, no working at desk or resting a laptop on your lap.
Of course all of this stuff doesn’t just work out of the box, there’s a lot of setting up accounts and entering usernames / passwords to get an ipod or an iphone to the stage opening popular applications becomes ‘effortless’. I had to make sure it would work with my own wifi & her own wifi too, which it didn’t and which wouldn’t have been easy to solve had i not set it up.
the hassle of learning
Even organising apps can be very time consuming. I installed about 70 apps on to her ipod touch using just two pages and making great use of folders. Instagram, dailybooth, twitter, skype, facetime… all alien stuff that she has seen and knows about because i use them regularly but had i not installed them and set up accounts on that ipod, she would never have bothered with them. I very quickly demo’d the photoshop express app to show her what can be done with photos and just how easy it can be to transform a ‘bad’ photo in to a ‘good’ one.
So there is still a hell of a lot of work & ‘training’ involved in setting up an ipod or an iphone to get it to a stage you’re happy with, but once that initial hard work is done, it becomes extremely simple to use and easy to benefit from the web.
teach a man (or woman!) to fish…
Now for example, my girlfriend can call me using facetime or send me an email… all for free and all simple to do. And i can do the same of course… Before the ipod touch, that wasn’t possible. So it’s important to remember that there are a lot of people out there that still aren’t online and that aren’t embracing technology the way they could be, the way they should be. The more access i have to the web and the easier software becomes to use, the more i upload content. It’s the same for anyone who does anything online… if it becomes easier to use and easier to access, you’re more inclined to use it.
making stuff easy to use = profit
I suppose that’s why credit cards are such a big earner for banks. Money becomes easier for us to get at and spend, so we spend much more than we would do if we had no credit cards. Imagine having to send postal orders or bank drafts to buy something on ebay or to book flights online. We’d just buy that stuff offline because of the hassle it would create for us.
To a lot of people, the web is hassle. Look at all these twitter & facebook bashers… who are the same people who send emails and book flights online yet laugh at anyone who uses twitter or facebook. They can’t see the value in social networking so they refuse to learn how to use it. Stick them in an airport that’s closed down and they’ll quickly see how far their nokia 0001 will get them. They’re cut off from the crowd and left information-less at a time where they need information most. That’s the kind of value facebook & twitter bring and that’s why everyone should be using them, or at least acknowledging their value.
With devices like an ipod touch, these kind of people have no excuses not to embrace social media and build relationships online.