Like any other normal human being in this day and age, I confess that I cannot live without my phone. Unconsciously, it is the last thing I check before I sleep and the first thing I grab when I wake up. Am I proud of it? Maybe not, but do I do anything to curb this enthusiasm? We already know the answer to that.
At this point, it acts as a ready reckoner for everything I need from life: news, weather, time, reminders, entertainment, connections, education, food, clothing, shelter and even solitude. So, on a typical day, this rut would start with checking all the notifications from tons of apps and selecting the ones that I absolutely need to check first thing in the morning. The rest of the notifications are spread out through the rest of the day based on their priority.
I am a simple man who doesn’t overcomplicate things with too many niche apps. I am happy with using the basic ones and letting them overpower me, I am easy that way. Let me quickly refer to the screen time section of my phone to make sure I don’t lie about using some random fancy app regularly.
I stand correct. The top 4 apps that rule the most of my day are Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp and Spotify. Now comes the 5th one. This is where it gets tricky. There is no consistency in the pattern of which one app can grab the 5th spot. On a Sunday, it could be Photos because I was out clicking pictures. On a Monday, it could be Zara to escape the Monday blues and indulge in some mindless shopping. On a Thursday, it could be Uber Eats because who wants to cook every day anyway. On a Saturday, it could be Lyft or Uber because I want to travel in luxury and why not! Here I go justifying why I use these apps and what they do for me.
Starting with Instagram, we know it is a rabbit hole. The process begins with escaping your reality to see others’ pretence and, before you know it, you have scrolled passed hundreds of posts, reels and stories and wondered what you are doing with your life. I would still give it to the platform for entertaining. Also, props to it for providing some good information on what’s relevant and what are your friends connecting to at any given point.
Twitter is my favourite platform amongst the barrage of social networking apps. It gives me all the news on the topics that I like and lets me speak my mind out on things that affect me. If you can get past the negativity and foul-mouthed ranting on that app, Twitter is beautiful. I have met so many wonderful people and built some great connections over the years on the platform.
The only reason WhatsApp makes it to the top 5 is that it allows me to have long calls with my family and friends who reside in my home country. I have never seen it as a hardcore social networking platform, and I doubt that I ever will. Then comes my baby, Spotify. Hats off to its algorithm that it always knows exactly the kind of music or podcast I would need at any time. This is one app I don’t mind stalking me, given the value it provides me.
For the last one, let’s pick Zara since, more often than not, I find myself window shopping on its app. I love how chic they make their clothes look with multiple classy images of the same product. Sometimes they even go en extra mile to show how it would look with an ensemble. That’s a good marketing trick. Isn’t it? Because now I feel like picking a few pieces from that ensemble, even if I didn’t need them. Anyway, Browsing through their collection makes me feel good when I transport to a red carpet (a budget one, come on, it’s Zara, not Ralph Lauren) moment wearing those clothes.
Although most of the time, there might not even be a micro-moment leading up to the usage of these apps, it is mostly just mindless picking up the phone and opening an app. Taking cues from my therapy, where my psychotherapist pushed me to pin my feelings down, I’ll try to assign a micro-moment to these apps.
Instagram – I want to relax, and I want to get entertained.
Twitter – I want to know, and I want to share.
WhatsApp – I want to connect.
Spotify – I want to escape.
Zara – I want to feel good.
The Pain Points
I am a very patient person who can mostly look the other way when a minor inconvenience happens. Or sometimes, I will go on trying and figuring out things before I completely give up. Even then I am not much bothered by something if it doesn’t work. I would be a hypocrite to say that this was true for everything in my life, so let me clarify that this stands true sometimes and only for some situations.
With Instagram, my biggest problem is the constant butchering of the reach of my posts, while Twitter could do better with an option to edit tweets. I am tired of reposting the same tweet four times because, obviously, I was not focusing on the grammar while ranting. I know I said, ‘I want to share’, but not the same thing again and again.
I don’t expect much out of WhatsApp anyway, so I’d let it do its thing as long as it serves the purpose of data calls. Moving on, I guess I am too loyal to Spotify to recognize its flaws. I often find myself defending the app even when someone tries to reason why it doesn’t work for them. Lastly, Zara could make my life easier by making it easier to navigate their app and website. Under the guise of looking stylish, they make it too difficult to reach the section you want. I always have to tap 5-6 different areas to find what I am looking for. That gets annoying quickly and doesn’t align with my micro-moment of feeling good, at least until I reach the desired location.
Marketers, are you listening?
If I were at Zara, I would track the back end to understand the customer journey. If the same user is going back and forth without adding anything to their cart, it is a clear indication that something is not working for them. Taking cues from here, I would focus on making the user experience better and one-directional.
The issue with Instagram doesn’t hamper the micro-moment associated with it, so it would not be ideal to address it here.
Twitter claims that giving the option to edit a post would take away from the authenticity of the app, which in a way, is not incorrect. Although, as a marketer, I would not shrug this off completely. Currently, a majority of people who use this platform want the same thing from Twitter. I would look into at least testing this feature out and analyzing the good or bad it does. If one feature keeps people away from the platform and its presence can drive in more users, there could be a way to add it to its offerings.
The sweet poison that is my phone
Now you know there is no way I can survive without my phone. This is only 30-40 percent of what it does for me. I didn’t even get started on how directionally challenged I am and the importance of Google Maps in my life. I hope the marketers continue to look into making user journeys smoother so that we can continue to self-sabotage and disappear into this digital black hole.