I was lucky enough to be able to attend the San Francisco M1 Summit (Mobile First). One of my coworkers gave me the tickets and I jumped at the opportunity to go after seeing the lineup of people there. I was even more curious to go after reading a couple of books that digs into technological solutionism and centrism. my biggest takeaway is that I’m not sure if our attention is being fought for nowadays or if it is just being taken from us. Otherwise, these were my other big takeaway points:

Mobile is virtual oxygen and the operating system for life

Read that again. Where’s your phone? When was the last time you looked at it? How many apps do you? Imagine 24 hours without your phone, does that worry you? The entire conference really showed me WHY we are so glued to our phones because I met the people who make us that way. They see it as our virtual oxygen and they want us to feel like we will run out of this oxygen if we aren’t always on our phones. The best part? They want to do it in a subtle way where it is seen as helpful and as an advancement instead of as a distraction. Look around you next time you are in a public space and just try to count how many people are on their phones. I could rant about this but check out this post if you want to see how I have revamped my phone to help better my attachment to it.

App fatigue is real

Through some informal surveys (“raise your hand if…”) I realized so many of us are over being pinged and notified about so many things. We are reaching the point of “app fatigue” which is a new term I learned that means exactly what is says. If you are an app producer, you need to be careful about when and how often you notify your users because, if done improperly, your app will be deleted.

Personalization is the name of the game

There was a ton of talk about how to sync and use data from across platforms to deliver the best experience for the user. When the user comes to our website from their computer, what action do they typically want to do? Do they want to do the same action when they use our app? What about when they view our website on their mobile devices? Do we need an app to go along with our site or can we deliver a better mobile web experience? Understanding how best to server your user and to do so in a way that is consistent with what they wanted in the past is the name of the game for marketers. It’s a challenging problem because, well, in my mind I think we are Predictably Irrational as Dan Ariely says. I will say there is something about adding an item to your shopping cart on your computer then jumping on your phone and having that item be there.

The mobile phone is the most personal device we have.

Multiple speakers said this throughout the day and, at first, I dismissed it. As soon as I thought more about it though, they were right. This is the most personal device we have. I could probably grab someone’s phone today and between their phone records, text messages, and the apps on their phone tell you a lot about who they are, what gender they are, whether they travel a lot, how they spend their time, what they care about, etc. It’s the only device that is always on us and always available unlike the laptop or a tablet which is often put away and put out of site. How does this affect us? How can we make sure our phone is personal but not an extension of ourselves? How can we make it work for us without becoming a part of us?

Mobile marketing is creepy

I’m not sure how else to explain it but between location settings and general tracking that companies do it is downright creepy. I suggest everyone go on their phones and disable their Location Services. You can turn Location Services on or off at Settings > Location Services on iPhones. The worst part is that some apps outright require your location to use it (Lyft, Maps, Weather, etc.). I have turned my settings so that it will only use my location when I am using the app. Even then though it makes my skin crawl a bit with paranoia.

Technology in school systems need to be additions and not distractions

I sat in on an awesome discussion between different members of companies working on ways to increase classroom feedback, increase communication outside of the classroom, and improve how technology is used to improve education. Diana Stepner, the VP of Innovation Partnerships for Pearsons, was absolutely fascinating to listen to. The discussion wasn’t radical but the players were. As someone who never needed a teacher to remind me to do schoolwork or an enormous amount of feedback about my grades, I wonder if these are creating crutches more so than solutions. Nevertheless, the ideas are thought provoking. The most interesting part of their discussion was around how teachers nowadays are used to the technology advancements outside of the classroom that they are frustrated by the lack of it inside their classroom. Why can’t the same technologies they are using to keep in touch with their friends back home not be used to keep in touch with students? After the panel was over, I approached Diana Stepner. By approached, I mean I waited in line and was butt in line by two men before speaking to her! She laughed when we finally were able to talk. I brought up to her the fact that many of my best teachers at UNC did not allow computers in their classrooms and did not rely on technology to communicate with us. I then explained that I remember more from those classes than I do from others. How can we make sure technology is an addition and not a distraction was the ultimate question I posed. As expected, she said by making it something that improves what happens inside the classroom by improving what happens outside of it and in the peripheral. I was relieved to hear her say this and am intrigued to see what happens with technology in education in the future.

Marketers probably know more about you than you know about you

Try this fun little test out: Head here www.google.com/ad/preferences/. Did Google get your age right? Did Google get your gender right? What about your interests? Mine is fairly accurate. I am female, between the ages of 25-34, English speaking, and am interested in technology, fitness, web development, rugby, and apartments. The above statement is a stretch but it is something to keep in mind when you browse the internet.

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