BARCELONA—Twitter and Facebook may not want to admit they are media companies, but consumers already get it, according to Dr. Pernilla Jonsson, Head of the Ericsson Consumer and Industry Lab. PCMag spoke to Jonsson at Mobile World Congress here this week about consumer trust, mobile commerce, and why smartphones are so damn addictive.
“Consumers are aware of social media becoming like a broadcast media,” Jonsson says. There are still a lot of people who see social media as solely a peer-to-peer system, but that is changing. Jonsson says her research shows “half” of consumers view social media as a broadcasting media that can be manipulated by outside parties.
“Consumers are not stupid,” Jonsson says. “They are aware we have this sort of thing, and they will be increasingly critical about the information that is posted on social media.”
At the same time that social media is being challenged, Jonsson says this could be an opportunity for traditional publishers to regain some authority and audience. “This might be a renaissance for the publisher and the brand,” Jonsson says. “If you trust the source, you won’t have a problem with the information.”
Technology firms and telcos also have to work to maintain consumer trust in a way they have never done before. According to Jonsson, their business models depend on it. Her research shows that consumers remain very concerned about privacy. “Consumers are worried about privacy issues, but it is a very diffused threat,” Jonsson says.
Vendors that succeed must master three key things: permissibility, transparency, and the perception of benefits. “Consumers are very, very aware that the benefits of working with ICT solutions, smartphones, and giving away data from usage, and so on, outweigh the risk.”
Another one of those risks is technology addiction. According to a recent study, almost 47 percent of US adults think their kids are “addicted” to technology. Jonsson recently conducted her own survey, albeit slightly less comprehensive.
“I went to my son’s school and lectured to his class of 9-year-olds and I asked them ‘Do your parents think that you are all addicted to your smartphones and iPads?’ Everyone raised their hand. Then I asked them, ‘How many of you think that your parents are addicted to their computers and their smartphones?’ And everybody raised their hands. We tend to see kids doing this, but really really don’t ask ourselves.”
Jonsson doesn’t think she’s addicted, but admits that her phone is the “remote control to life,” which is “why we have such a hard time lifting our gaze and seeing that there is another future out there to grab.”
Watch our entire interview with Jonsson above. And check out more Fast Forward episodes on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and YouTube.