Thursday, 5 June 2008

How cool is the mobile industry?

Long time since I last posted. Hoping to get going with this again.

Nothing earth-shattering to comment on, but I remembered something that happened a little while back that demonstrated the problems associated with the clash of media, youth culture and telecoms.

At a conference while discussing full track music downloads a prominent industry analyst referred to Gnarls Barkley (who had hit #1 with the excellent "Crazy" solely on the basis of digital download, much of it mobile) as "he". Now I don't claim to be the most hip with the kids but even I'm aware that GB is a "they", specifically Cee-Lo Green and Danger Mouse (no, not that Danger Mouse).

Of course, pretty much no-one noticed since the average attendee at a mobile conference is not that down with da yoof. However it did demonstrate a couple of things to me. Firstly, do your research. Secondly, and less facetiously, we in telecoms have pretty much no understanding of popular culture. Don't try to guess, you'll get it wrong. Give people the tools to do what they want to do and leave it at that. That's the "smart" pipe. The "dumb" pipe thinks that Gnarls Barkley is a "he", Lykke Li can be found in Ikea and emo was Rod Hull's friend.

Lads, lads...where's Rod?

There has, recently been an obsession with mobilising Facebook and MySpace and so on. This misses the point. These sites are ephemeral. Give it 2 years and everyone will be on to something else. Remember Friends Reunited? Still checking it? Thought not. Still think you'll be using Facebook in 2 years? Maybe, but then you'll probably also be using something else. Mobilising the internet is about allowing people to do what they like, not second guessing it.

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