Technology may change, but the fact that humans are the end users will not. We are born, learn to play and have fun, go to school, get jobs, have families and grow old. This natural flow is undeniable and has to be factored into how we plan on using new online services as they are introduced.
Take for instance Facebook, which in its early days was very popular among college students. These college students eventually get jobs which begin to cut into their time spent on the site. These Facebook users eventually get married and have children, which can make finding the time to update their status, read the news feed and upload pictures very difficult. I have seen this trend among my Facebook friends over the years. As they settle down and start a family, they move towards only using Facebook as an interactive picture album.
All new services face the challenge of growing with their users. Many times the early adopters skew younger and have plenty of free time on their hands. The key is retaining these users as they age and providing real value for the adult market.
A good example of this dilemma is the old Aol Instant Messenger. Everyone used to be on it. But now millions have been fleeing the service for years. Sure there’s been a recent uptick in instant messaging, but if we look at the natural flow of what humans do, we could have predicted Aol Instant Messenger's fall from greatness.
The early adopters of the service were obviously younger. As they matured, they found that there were easier and faster ways to communicate, such as simply picking up the phone. In addition, sites such as Facebook began offering instant messaging in addition to their other features.
We not only see this "media and maturity" phenomenon when new technologies are presented to the general public, but we also see it in technologies that are evolving. Television is experiencing enormous pains right now as it transitions to the online world. Early on, many companies such as YouTube tried to reinvent the wheel. But once again, the human condition is always getting in the way. YouTube was quite revolutionary in regards to the fact that it brought so many video choices to our screens, but users quickly learned that it takes a lot of time to sift through all those videos to find something that's going to entertain you for three minutes. Time isn't the only factor affecting YouTube. Even the youngest YouTube user gets tired after a hard day at school and soccer practice. Hunting for just a few minutes of video delight can take too much effort when you're tired. That's why there is something to be said for that old medium we call TV. With TV you can sit down on the couch and veg out. The most effort you have to put forward is raising and depressing your thumb on the remote control. That’s why a simple remote can give companies like Roku and edge over Chromecast, which has to be manipulated with your phone.
A few years ago, YouTube caught on and something old was new again. The video service found that the breakthrough idea for online video was good old-fashioned TV. Back in 2010, YouTube released their obscure Leanback service. The premise was that the video keeps going and going and going. You just type in the description of the video that you want to watch, then the Leanback service feeds you a continuous flow of Star Trek type videos ala Pandora. The Leanback service came full circle when it added a remote control feature.
It's funny though, with all this technology YouTube still can't deliver a video service that is as efficient and as elegant as the television, a technology that is more than 60-years-old.
About the author:
Christopher Michael McHugh’s Company, McQ Marketing Group, focuses on content marketing with an emphasis on video. Other services offered include social media, advertising, websites, analytics, CRM setup, live streaming and prerecorded video content, in addition to online presence analysis and consulting.
Before he started McQ Marketing Group, McHugh was a producer at Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network and did medical marketing for NewYork-Presbyterian/Lawrence Hospital and Westmed Medical Group.
If you are interested in learning more or would like to reach out to Mr. McHugh regarding consulting or public speaking, go to www.McQMarketingGroup.com. Call 203-689-3419, or email Chris@McQMarketingGroup.com.