Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Attachment to cellphones more about entertainment, less about communication

Date:
June 28, 2011
Source:
Kansas State University
Summary:
That panicked feeling we get when the family pet goes missing is the same when we misplace our mobile phone, says a marketing professor. Moreover, those feelings of loss and hopelessness without our digital companion are natural.

That panicked feeling we get when the family pet goes missing is the same when we misplace our mobile phone, says a Kansas State University marketing professor. Moreover, those feelings of loss and hopelessness without our digital companion are natural.

"The cellphone's no longer just a cellphone; it's become the way we communicate and a part of our life," said Esther Swilley, who researches technology and marketing. This reliance on cellphones and other mobile technology in daily life is an interest of Swilley's, and a phenomenon she hopes to explain.

One long-term study has Swilley looking at the attitudes people have toward their mobile phone and how these attitudes are influenced by a user's relationship with their device. That attachment, called mobile affinity, depends on whether an owner views their cellphone or smartphone as a device that's more fun than it is functional or vice versa. Gaining insight into this relationship could enable retailers to better understand the consumer mindset and could even make it possible to market to consumers individually based on their interests and beliefs.

To find and collect this data, Swilley uses a hotbed of information: a college campus. She observes how Kansas State students use and respond to their phone, as well as surveying students in her marketing course.

According to her data pool, the majority of participants are between ages 19-24, with 52 percent being male. More importantly, 99 percent own a mobile phone.

"Honestly I'm surprised this wasn't 100 percent," Swilley said. "People share other devices like computers, but cellphones are an interesting thing because we each have our own. That individual ownership is a really big deal for people."

Swilley found that a majority of the participants said they are attached to their phone because of its functionality as an entertainment device rather than as a tool that can communicate anytime and anywhere. So it comes to no surprise to Swilley that games are the most downloaded application for cellphones, according to app stores.

What is surprising to her is that study participants indicated their mobile phone allowed for little to no self-expression. This is odd because while mobile phone owners have said their phone is a part of themselves, it's not a way they express themselves, Swilley said. A future study looking at what makes mobile technology aesthetically pleasing may eventually answer this, however.

With the adoption of more smartphones and the introduction of apps, Swilley has noticed that for many owners, their phone's entertainment factor has become a source of pride and joy -- similar to that of a lovable new pet.

"It's sort of similar to when people had those Tamagotchi pets as children; cellphones are just the adult version of that," Swilley said. "People don't turn them off, are constantly playing with them, and want to show off the neat things the phone can do."

The concept for looking at consumer attitudes toward their phone stemmed from the time Swilley was employed at BellSouth Corporation, now a subsidiary of AT&T Inc.

"Every employee was given a BlackBerry. Some of us weren't interested in having a pager, so the phones just sat there for some time," Swilley said. "But when I left three years later, I almost cried because I had to give up my BlackBerry. It had become a part of me and I was attached to it. It was the way I communicated. Today when I look at people now with their cellphones I see the same attachment."

Swilley's future mobile-related studies include looking at:

  • Mobile coupon use and which sites the majority of consumers use to get these coupons.
  • How a user reacts when he or she is making an online purchase on their phone and receive an incoming call.
  • What it takes to make a functional and appealing website that is only visited via cellphones, including how the design will look and how it is standardized for various screen sizes.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Kansas State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Kansas State University. "Attachment to cellphones more about entertainment, less about communication." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 June 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110628113139.htm>.
Kansas State University. (2011, June 28). Attachment to cellphones more about entertainment, less about communication. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110628113139.htm
Kansas State University. "Attachment to cellphones more about entertainment, less about communication." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110628113139.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Thanks, Marty McFly! Hoverboards Could Be Coming In 2015

Thanks, Marty McFly! Hoverboards Could Be Coming In 2015

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) If you've ever watched "Back to the Future Part II" and wanted to get your hands on a hoverboard, well, you might soon be in luck. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robots to Fly Planes Where Humans Can't

Robots to Fly Planes Where Humans Can't

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 21, 2014) Researchers in South Korea are developing a robotic pilot that could potentially replace humans in the cockpit. Unlike drones and autopilot programs which are configured for specific aircraft, the robots' humanoid design will allow it to fly any type of plane with no additional sensors. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Graphene Paint Offers Rust-Free Future

Graphene Paint Offers Rust-Free Future

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 21, 2014) British scientists have developed a prototype graphene paint that can make coatings which are resistant to liquids, gases, and chemicals. The team says the paint could have a variety of uses, from stopping ships rusting to keeping food fresher for longer. Jim Drury reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
China Airlines Swanky New Plane

China Airlines Swanky New Plane

Buzz60 (Oct. 21, 2014) China Airlines debuted their new Boeing 777, and it's more like a swanky hotel bar than an airplane. Enjoy high-tea, a coffee bar, and a full service bar with cocktails and spirits, and lie-flat in your reclining seats. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins