Thanks for That, Captain Obvious

Creative work can improve enormously when research uncovers interesting insights. But sometimes, it seems researchers must be in collusion with the people who make two-way mirrors or peanut M&Ms.  Because how else do you explain seemingly intelligent people setting up a methodology and constructing the trials to prove this:

Dennis Ryan, Advertising, Olson

The only really interesting thing about this study was that the New Zealand researchers used texting as a means of gathering the information and their response rate was unusually high. Yet another reason to pay attention to mobile.

Anyway, you can read all the amazing, who’d-a-thunk-it facts of the study here.  Just the kind of indepth intellectual content you need to know pre-weekend.  Happy Friday.


By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson

Can’t Wait Communications and The Dangers of Distracted Driving

A week ago, if you had ever heard of Hollywood plastic surgeon Dr. Frank Ryan, it was because last November, he spent a long ten hours surgically enhancing reality TV celebrity Heidi Montag’s body to cartoonishly pneumatic proportions.

Dennis Ryan, Element 79, Chicago AdvertisingToday, the fifty year old man is known as the guy who accidentally killed himself by driving his Jeep off a cliff while tweeting about his border collie.  That would be a tragic, inane end to any life but given the rising furor over distracted driving and people’s general uneasiness with the phenomenal rise of texting, Dr. Ryan has become a sort of posthumous posterboy for caution.

Eerily, this accident happened the same day that Mashable posted this fascinating infographic on the topic of text messaging.  Click that link and check out some of their statistics about this technology which barely existed as recently as ten years ago.  Among other eye-opening facts, it contends that the Philippines led the world in text messaging with an average of 600 messages per mobile subscriber for month in 2009.  More stunningly, the total number of SMS messages sent annually worldwide last year hovered around five trillion.  That’s 5,000,000,000,000.  To put that in layman’s terms, that’s a crapload.

We live in a time of continual distractions and constant upgrades.  What this means for long term social repercussions isn’t yet fully understood.  We’re gonna have to get an app for that.


By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79


Is That The Mobile Revolution In Your Pocket?

Industry visionaries have been touting this for a few years now and while I agree that mobile will be an important platform, I’m hoping it hurries up and gets here before my eyesight starts to really fade and I can no longer read that small screen.  If it does gain critical mass, the Mobilenet will be the second new mass communications medium in twenty years.  That will introduce even more profound platform, behavioral and social changes for us to adjust to in a wickedly short period of time.

Sent from my iPhone

Sent from my iPhone

Stephen Riley, our resident social media power user, monitored the Twitter posts from yesterday’s first day speakers at the Ad Age Digital Conference in New York. Of the long list he forwarded, the ones that really stood out quoted John Stratton, CMO of Verizon.  Among other things, he talked about how 13-19 year olds text eight times more often than they call.  They also average a four minute reply time to an SMS versus two days for an e-mail.  But the most remarkable fact Stratton highlighted was the rate of App Store downloads and how they dwarf the rate of iTune downloads.  In many ways, the rapid adoption of this platform demonstrates that the handheld computer is already here.

To purists of course, the iPhone is merely a really good smartphone, not truly the portable computing device they envision as servicing a mobilenet-enabled future.  And yet, hackers and bloggers have rated this little beauty roughly akin to a PowerBook, circa 2000, with a CPU clocking at 400MHz, bus speed of 100MHz, and 128 MB of RAM. Mobile gaming advocates even claim it has more power than the Nintendo DS and PSP systems combined.  Which means the iPhone has no shortage of app driving power on hand.

And talk about app opportunities.  With more than 25,000 to choose from and more coming on line every week, the App Store stands as a testament to the value of free content and open source.  The iPhone itself will celebrate its second birthday in June; this past February marked the first birthday for the crucial iPhone development kit.

The social impact of relatively young technologies and platforms like the iPhone and YouTube and Facebook blows historical precedent out of the water.  And yet ultimately it reinforces a great truth that many seem resistant to grasp: we are not led into the future on platforms, we are led by ideas.  Platforms enable ideas, but without ideas, you simply have the Newton.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79