Posts Tagged ‘south africa


Anything you can do, my phone can do better!

Mobile media’s potential power is becoming more and more apparent as time goes on. So much so that big name companies who usually use traditional means to get their product recognised, are using different mobile technologies.

Imagine you are walking down the street, past a billboard advertising the newest Nike shoes. You don’t really notice it that much, and you don’t intend on visiting a Nike shop. But then your phone starts behaving like a crazed animal in your bag, beeping and vibrating until you pick it up and give it the attention that it wants.

It’s a message, from Nike, sent to your phone using Bluetooth technology. Bluetooth allows electronic devices to communicate wirelessly, but only from a short range. It tells you that if you run to the nearest Nike store you could win a brand new pair of Nike Zoom shoes, which were advertised on the billboard you passed by.

Then you arrive at the bus stop, and you get another message on your phone, sent via Bluetooth. It says:

I’m watching u. Ur at the bus stop.”

Now you’re a bit creeped out but then a few seconds later you get another message, this time saying:

Big Brother is back. 7pm weeknights on Ten.

This is a message from the producers of Big Brother in Australia. Their new season is starting and they want as many people to tune in as possible.

Now despite the obvious annoying, spam-like quality of these types of messages (but remember that one can only receive Bluetooth messages of your Bluetooth is turned on), it happens to be an ingenious advertising technique that is utilising mobile technology. And one that confirms for me that we can so many things off our cellphones, and these can be done simply and cheaply.  

Users can use search tools like Google, you can check Facebook, you can chat to friends really cheaply through a number of different devices such as Mxit and Meep, you can internet bank, you can blog, you can shop online, you can find out breaking news using news websites or social media sites like Twitter, you can even take a guided tour of South Africa’s historical sites using your cell phone!

So with all this new mobile technology and the obvious convenience of it all, what is there that we can’t do on our cell phones?


It’s the way forward!

Mobile media is a term that we all think we understand, well I certainly did. That was until I sat down to try and write this. So my first stop was to find a basic definition of mobile media, so I turned to Wikipedia, a site which allows any individual to collaborate in writing about a certain topic. According to Wikipedia:

The mobility and portability of media or as “the media-in-motion business” has been a process in the works ever since the “first time someone thought to write on a tablet that could be lifted and hauled – rather than on a cave wall, a cliff face, a monument that usually was stuck in place, more or less forever”. Today, mobile media devices such as mobile phones and PDA’s are the primary source of portable media from which we can obtain information and communicate with one another.

This touches on the importance of portability. Anyone who has a cell phone can use mobile media. Some popular mobile media applications are SMS text, website access, ringtones, wallpapers and interactive chat sites like Mxit. According to a report on Reuters last year world wide cell phone subscriptions reached 3.3 billion users (or about half of the world’s population). When comparing this to television usage (which is about 1.5 billion users) is not hard to see why mobile media is on the verge of being the mass medium of the future.

Mobile Media is ideal for South Africa where few locals have access to the Internet by cable or landline, mainly because of various monetary factors. Only 10.3 % of South Africa’s population have access to the Internet, whereas in countries like America, 71.1 % of the population has access to the web.

Mobile Media has the potential to reach more users than traditional media ever has. When looking for statistics of mobile media users from South Africa it can be seen that we are already starting to have a major impact in this area. Last year the BBC reported that 19% of its international WAP users came from South Africa.

Mobile media has great potential in this country and I shall explore some of the areas where mobile media can work, and some of its downfalls in this blog series. A few of the issues that I consider are: the popularity of mobile media, why large companies are incorporating mobile media into their strategies and products and how mobile media is used by the youth. I will adopt a critical perspective while commenting on these issues. It’s going to be a journey of discovery for me and will hopefully be beneficial to those reading this!