Webometric Thoughts

December 15, 2007

Mobile Literacy

Filed under: computer illiteracy,mobile illiteracy,s60,smartphones — admin @ 11:04 am

All About Symbian notes a number of YouTube tutorials for beginners with the Nokia’s S60 platform.. Whilst these are without a doubt useful to the Nokia novice, a lot more needs to be done. Smartphones can be a useful addition to both people’s professional and personal lives, but only if they know how to use them.

Unfortunately, every time a new generation of mobile phones emerges they seem to be quickly followed by user surveys telling us that few people use more than 10 or 20 percent of the facilities available. These surveys are taken as an indicator of a lack of need rather than a lack of knowledge. Whilst all phones have some superfluous facilities, the current generation of phones really are offering useful applications if people know how to use them.

The obvious problem with mobile literacy is the numerous models available, and the individual restrictions placed by the different mobile operators. Nonetheless I find it hard to believe that on the web, where we hear so much about the potential of the long tail, that there aren’t decent portals offering all the skills and advice that people of every level would require for a specific model. Whilst there are decent blogs available, these often appeal to the users who are already making good use of their phones (although the blogs are extremely valuable nonetheless).

Maybe if we could start increasing level of mobile literacy, as well as more general computer literacy, organisations wouldn’t under value computer skills so much. If we continue to think of mobile literacy as the ability to make a call and send a text, and computer literacy the ability to send an email and surf the web and maybe use Microsoft office, then businesses and users will continue to fail to use the products to their full potential. Surely mobile illiteracy is costing the economy billions of pounds every year?

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