Trekkies, Whovians, Browncoats, Furries and Tolkien obsessives: wake up and smell the tech! Us twenty-first century enthusiasts aren’t interested in superheroes or spaceships or Klingon translations of The Fellowship of the Ring—our smartphones are more precious to us than anything poor Gollum could ever dream up.
Love is in the air
Experts reckon that right now there are over one billion smartphones in use around the world, which means just about 17% of the global population (or about one in seven people) is jacked in to apps and touch-screens—that’s an increase of 46.6% since 2011! But fandom isn’t about number-crunching; it’s about obsession. A 2012 Spike TV poll found that 80% of men surveyed said they ‘loved’ their smartphones. So what’s got us all gooey-eyed about them?
Here, there and everywhere
Well, we’re sure it’s got to do with portability. Unlike your TV, your car, or your desktop computer, your smartphone is one gadget you can use just about anywhere—and, unlike even the most streamlined laptops, netbooks and tablets, smartphones fit right in your pocket. Nielson’s 2012 Social Media report says that 46% of social online activity happens from mobile phones, with tablets only accounting for 16%—they go on to tell us that amongst 18-24 year olds, nearly a third of social networking goes on in, ahem, the bathroom.
Wedded and bedded
Coincidence? We think not! The portability and convenience of smartphones gives them a massive advantage in a world where a constant online presence is nigh-on mandatory. In a 2012 YouGov survey, 68% of respondents said they’d happily ditch beer, wine, chocolate, shoes, television or even their car for an entire month, so long as they could keep their smartphone; and, if that’s not enough, 22% claimed that their smartphone is the most important thing they take to bed with them. Bad news for lovers, maybe, but pretty darn good news for tech manufacturers!
Lust for life
So we get why smartphones have the edge over desktop computers and TVs (whether Internet TVs or regular varieties)—but what is it about the smartphone experience that makes people fall in love with it? The Spike TV report said that eight out of ten male smartphone users felt their device made their lives better, 73% said it gave them more confidence, and 72% said it made them communicate more with friends.
So if Spinoza’s right, and man is a social animal, it looks like smartphones are doing their part to facilitate that sociability. We’re spending more time on our phones, and we’re using those phones to access apps like Facebook and Twitter. Even when we’re watching TV, we’re using our smartphones to look up information about the show, or to tweet about it, or to go shopping.
The old standby that women can multi-task and men can’t, goes right out the window when we think about how and when we use our phones. And if smartphones are making male users more communicative, it also sounds like they’re helping to break through the old stereotype of the taciturn man, enabling fanboys to get more chatty without losing street-cred. No wonder the boys love their toys!