The rapid adoption of cell phones and, especially, the spread of internet-connected smartphones are changing people’s communications with others and their relationships with information. Users’ ability to access data immediately through apps and web browsers and through contact with their social networks is creating a new culture of real-time information seekers and problem solvers.
A new nationally representative survey by the Pew Internet Project has found additional evidence of this just-in-time phenomenon. Some 70% of all cell phone owners and 86% of smartphone owners have used their phones in the previous 30 days to perform at least one of the following activities:
• Coordinate a meeting or get-together -- 41% of cell phone owners have done this in the past 30 days.
• Solve an unexpected problem that they or someone else had encountered -- 35% have used their phones to do this in the past 30 days.
• Decide whether to visit a business, such as a restaurant -- 30% have used their phone to do this in the past 30 days.
• Find information to help settle an argument they were having -- 27% haveused their phone to get information for that reason in the past 30 days.
• Look up a score of a sporting event -- 23% have used their phone to do that in the past 30 days.
• Get up-to-the-minute traffic or public transit information to find the fastest way to get somewhere -- 20% have used their phone to get that kind of information in the past 30 days.
• Get help in an emergency situation -- 19% have used their phone to do that in the past 30 days.