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Can I Come In?

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It’s not an uncommon sight these days, to see someone tap tap tapping away while strutting the sidewalk. Busy busy businessmen fire off emails, head-down and feet churning. Tweens fling fowl without glancing up. And high-heeled gals simultaneously manage to look fab in thigh-highs while taking a conference call and getting directions to the hot new cafe, to boot. We’re all Totally Connected.

But to what and to whom?

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Not to the crowds around us, not to that guy trying to catch our eye on the train, not to those bus ads, or to those newspaper stacks, and certainly not to that great big billboard Way. Up. There. Can’t look up. Just one more Tweet. Just last night I managed to miss a friend walking right past me (who I was waiting for) because my eyes were down, scrolling the world through a screen rather than up, taking it all in.

Today, more than ever, we live in our own superdupersmartphone-induced bubbles. We insulate ourselves from the greater world with who & what we already know. Our phones let us carry our friends, a thousand years of music, all the news that flips and its associated advertising with us at all times. We’re becoming a heads-down culture with noses in screens and buds in ears even while out & about, exploring our cities and towns. But at the same time we rely on our smartphones to insulate us, we also ask them to point the way to the new, the cool, and the hot. It’s gotten to the point where we need apps to break out of the app-induced bubble.

Mobile is a semi-porous membrane after all, allowing some things to enter while blocking all else. This has significant ramifications on so many aspects of our lives. It helps fosters the balkanization of the media by ensuring we never have to read a dissenting view. It changes how we interact with our peers by keeping us constantly, loosely connected. And it certainly changes how brands and businesses reach consumers. Mobile is the new local. It’s the new outdoor. It's the new everything. Plan accordingly.


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