Setting Limits

“Picture a preschooler running through a grassy field next to her house, pretending she’s holding a friend’s hand. That was my attempt at social networking,” wrote AP writer Martha Irvine.

The story goes on to talk about how she craves connections and now, thanks to outlets like Facebook and Twitter, has hundreds of people connected to her that follow her life and writing. Of course, there can be too much of a good thing, like the instant communication and expected instant answers by people in business who carry Blackberrys or other sorts of smart phones. When does the connectivity stop, where can you go to get away from it all?

At one point you could go home, plunk yourself down on the couch and watch TV, but now, thanks to mobile devices like Flo TV, you can take that with you while your on the move. You could escape to the woods, but according to the ads, there is an app for finding your way out of the woods, identifying birds, trees and plants. One time on a hike, we were discussing a question about how many pints of blood were in a body and so someone pulled out their iPhone and looked up the answer.

“Don’t get me wrong. I still think there’s a lot to like about social networking. And even if I didn’t, there’s no denying that it’s forever changed the way we communicate,” Irvine continues. “People like me are tired of feeling frazzled and overextended. In these times of great change and upheaval, they’re prioritizing, on and offline , for survival and sanity.”

These statements really get at the heart of marketing in the mobile age. There’s a lot going on and every waking minute is spent having to wade through a sea of information. As marketers and communicators, we look for ways to make our message float to the top but as recipents of the efforts of others we make choices as to what will and will not appear on our radar screens. In an episode of the cartoon Futurama, marketing is taken to a whole new level when companies sponsor and control the dreams of the public. Maybe it’s a good thing all the information is only limited to waking hours.

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