My line of work entails keeping close track of cultural trends in the digital technology field.
The trend I’ve picked in this occasion points out a common behaviour amongst mobile Internet users, which is their reluctance to produce and manage their own online content. This refers specifically to commenting on websites, micro-blogging, and blogging.
I have observed how people use digital and mobile technology in South Africa for 3 years. Data shows an incremental connectivity from mobile phones, but restricted online activity. The time users spend online is short, and given that the majority of them keep account of this as the airtime has high costs, their online engagement is limited. Due to these reasons, amongst others, users perform searches but upload very little content.
It has become consensual that the use of mobile Internet will continue growing, with more people buying and using smart phones. This, however, poses new challenges such as the level of engagement with applications and platforms. Users strive for being connected at all times, but when looking at converting and transforming their online behaviour, the landscape becomes more challenging for brands.
In spirituality, shamans help members of a group to communicate with spiritual forces. They are a bridge between the human world and the sources of nature.
When analysing online activities, and the role of technology in reinforcing content sharing, holistic traditional views become relevant as this piece will show.
The trend of little content upload at present will change together with increased connectivity, however, there are kinds of users who will not, or could not embrace such a movement due to their cultural background.
It seems that those who started connecting to the Internet recently do not easily find information to comment on. This may be due to the fact that each online interaction is too short. With increased connectivity, and reduced rates, this trend may change. There are some users, however, who due to cultural beliefs consider instant messaging and micro-blogging something exclusive to young people. Tapping into this frame of thinking, will be challenging and it will greatly depend on the level of understanding of the low end users’ essential needs, and how technology can provide solutions to them.
When brands implement digital marketing campaigns often ask from people a level of engagement that implies they know platforms well, but also to use their imagination and knowledge in order to create content. More often than not, marketing directors blame digital agencies because of the inaccuracy of the campaigns’ results. One answer to this is that as opposed to expecting users to participate in discussions, spread out information, and voice their opinions, brands should play a more active role. They need to become a bridge between platforms and content. Resembling what a shaman does as an intermediary between two different worlds, brands can provide content that users feel connected to. This will tackle their fear to spontaneously create and publish information that they do not think of before hand.