I recently came across an interesting commentary piece doing the rounds on Twitter, predicting the failure of the iPhone back in 2007.
Published on Bloomberg, two weeks before the iPhone went on sale, it dubs the iPhone as “nothing more than a luxury bauble that will appeal to a few gadget freaks.”
My first thought was of course that hindsight is a funny thing and that this journalist and the analyst he quotes probably should have invested in a crystal ball.
But beyond this being an amusing read, the article is a startling reminder of just how far communications and our attitudes towards communications have come in the past five years.
Although Apple didn’t invent the first smartphone, the iPhone kick-started a technical revolution that took the smartphone out of corporate offices and into homes as the ‘must have’ consumer product, providing constant and on-the-go access to email, news and perhaps most importantly, social media.
Back in early 2007 Facebook had around 20m users (compared to just under 1bn today) and Twitter was only just reaching its tipping point, hitting 60,000 tweets a day (in comparison to 340m in March 2012).
The need for 24-hour news has long been a challenge in the media and comms world but the rise of the smartphone has spawned a reliance on social media and instant news that requires a whole different kind of communications strategy. The 2011 Japanese earthquake and the Norway shooting are stark proof that Twitter can break a global news story long before a traditional newsroom can.
We know that companies and their communications teams can no longer rely on traditional media to feed the ever hungry need for news, and a digital/social media presence is fast becoming ever more important for success.
Who knows where social media and mobile technology will advance further over the next five years; we certainly shouldn’t be broadcasting our predictions. The important thing is that it will advance, developing a way to make information even more accessible and with this will come interesting new challenges and exciting opportunities for communications.