Sunday, February 24, 2013

Women and their digital lives in 2013

Being the go to person in my group of friends and family for tech help, I have started to notice more women taking a greater interest in technology. I decided to test my theory and ran a rather informal poll on my Facebook page. I wanted to gauge how many of my lady friends had taken to using a smart device like a tablet or smartphone and how they get what ever they want working. Do they do it themselves or get some other geek in the family to do it for them.

All the respondents said they love using their smart device and load the necessary apps themselves. Most girls load apps based on recommendations from others, some actively discover new apps themselves and one girl said she is a total geek and finds this stuff child's play.

I must say I was a little surprised, I thought girls relied more on other people for help, but this is what I am seeing now as a trend, women are taking control of their digital life and making their smart devices work for them.

What are women actually using their smart devices for?

Well unlike men who tend to have quite a few apps loaded on their smart devices just to show off, with some kind of "wow your friends" factor. Women tend to demand that all their apps have some use in their day to day lives.

Social Media

I know quite a few girls who say if Facebook was not loaded on their smartphone they would never find as much time to interact. Just think of having to make time to site down in front of your PC and log into Facebook. Checking in with your friends for a round of strawberry daiquiris would never have been possible without a smartphone and Foursquare.

Photos

Moms are always snapping those precious moments when on the run with their smartphone. No more is a 2 megapixel camera ok, girls are demanding good images, they understand that the vast majority of pictures of their kids are going to be from their camera phone. Also, women are getting into using some kind of picture processing before posting their pictures to social media sites, whether it be filters or collages, girls like their shared pictures to be pretty.

News

Women are also using their smart devices to gather news. I have had a few of my lady friends say they actively watch Twitter or some kind of news feed for their update on the world around them. It also seems as more apps are built for specific news channels they follow, these are loaded and checked throughout the day.

Instant Messaging

By far the most popular app must be WhatsApp. I have heard some rather nasty mutterings from girls about other people when they do not use WhatsApp, it's almost like sending an SMS is shameful in this day and age.

Not a really big focus on email I found, seems email is becoming less popular these days, it seems to be used to get invoices and statements.

Why the noticeable change?

I think it comes down to portability. Smart phones have always been portable, but since the iPhone all smart phones have become better. Ease of use is important, girls just want things to work, none of this tweaking and fiddling. Also the introduction of tablets, these portable devices have become invaluable for women on the run, you can really get quite a bit done in your life on a tablet, sitting at a coffee shop at the kitchen table or even in bed.

Whats next?

I see that Moms would be especially happy if schools created some kind of app to keep them informed.

I think friction free banking would be a win for women who run the family finances. SA banks have come a long way recently with their mobile banking apps, so lets see how many moms are doing some quick payments in the car while waiting for the kids to finish soccer practice.

I think it is great that women are taking control of their smart device experience like this. No more do they rely on their brother, boyfriend or husband to set up their phone for them. Gone are they days of wives saying I just want a phone that makes and receives calls.

Let me know what you think, I welcome your comments below.
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