Constantly I hear sweeping generalizations about my “generation.”
The “me-me” generation
“Reading is not a priority”
“They just don’t read”
“We play by our own rules”
The list goes on…
I struggle with each generalization, but perhaps the one I struggle with the most is when I hear “They just don’t read.”
Maybe at one time or another, I would’ve seen some truth to this claim, but, when I really thought about it I realized this is a myth.
While we grew up on technology, we have always been hungry for more. Information has always been available to us, just about everywhere at any time. We have been fortunate to have the ability to make choices.
We decide what information we need to be successful. We choose where to find it. The truth is we actively seek the information we want. Ironically, I rarely see anyone physically picking up books anymore and I don’t think this is exclusive to my generation. Just take a look around you, on the train or at your local coffee shop. Just about everyone is glued to…. their phones.
I realized that just because we aren’t picking up physical books doesn’t mean we aren’t reading anymore. Times have changed. Technology has changed. The smartphone has earned its tagline as today’s “universal technology product.”
“Millennials are actually reading at a higher rate than any other generation.” –CGK
Most of our reading is now taking place on our mobile phones. We are deeply connected to our smartphone all day, every day, in so many ways. I wanted to dig deeper to fully understand what this means, so I decided to analyze what a typical day looks like for me. This exercise was both enlightening and a bit disturbing. I drew several interesting conclusions about my daily habits and the frequency of each which include reading, working, shopping, researching, communicating and socializing.
“On average people check their phone 150 times per day and spend 155 minutes using them.” –Google Report
I have outlined my average weekday hour to hour to see what daily tasks I complete that consist of me taking out my smartphone. It turns out over 50% of my hourly breakdown takes place on mobile. At first I was surprised by this, but then after I really thought about it this made sense. Even if I am not completing an entire task on my smartphone I still check it every few minutes. See the full daily breakdown below. The bolded hours include an activity that consists of me being on my smartphone. Below is a further breakdown of each of my hours spent on mobile.
6 to 7: Check email/read articles with coffee
Every morning I have to start my day with a cup of coffee to get going! While doing this I’m always scrolling through my inbox on my smartphone. I like to check my email early in the day to get that out of the way so I can focus on more important tasks later on. I also spend more time clearing out my personal inbox in the morning. If I’m expecting something specific for work to come in, I’ll spend some time in that inbox as well. I prefer to check email on my phone because it is easier to clear out my inbox using an app then the desktop version. Sometimes I’ll sneak in some Instagram browsing as well!
9:30-10: Check work email and respond
Finally, at the office! When I get in I focus on my email inbox for only 30 minutes. It’s so easy to get sucked in for more than an hour. Just like my personal email earlier in the morning, I like to clean out my inbox on mobile.
10-10:30: Check brand social pages
I typically check all social pages in the morning on my smartphone. You can thank notifications for that! Since I have notifications on for all of my social media apps I like to clear them out and make sure there isn’t anything important I missed.
12-12:30: Lunch time/Catch up on texts
I like to get some fresh air on my lunch breaks when I can! This is also the perfect time to catch up on any texts or make any phone calls on my to do list. I sometimes get carried away during the day and forget to respond to my texts.
4-5: Social Updates/Posts for the day
Time for the daily social posts! Just like I prefer to check my social updates on my smartphone I also prefer to post here most of the time as well. If I have to make a quick last minute edit to one of my pictures for the company, I can easily edit it on my phone. Canva is probably my favorite editing app for brand images.
6-7: Cook and eat some dinner
You might be thinking, why is she using her phone while cooking and eating? Most of the time, I’m using a recipe that I found or stored on my smartphone while I cook. I keep my favorite recipes that I reference often in Google Drive and then there are a few recipe apps that I use when I want to try something new.
10-11: Last minute social check then off to bed
I can’t deny that I browse some social media pages before heading to bed. Of course, all of my browsing takes place on my smartphone. I’d like to say that I get to start relaxing at exactly 10 p.m., but sometimes time gets the best of me.
I use my smartphone every day to check my email, read articles, talk to my friends and family, keep up with social media, find a recipe and cross items off my to do list. Almost every part of my day is connected to my smartphone. Each time I am on my smartphone I am consuming some type of content. I even found that completing certain tasks on my smartphone keeps me more focused than doing it on my desktop. Most of these tasks I complete on my smartphone also wouldn’t be possible on a regular cellphone. The capabilities of what can be done on a smartphone are endless.
“82% of US adults have smartphones while the other 18% have cellphones.” -Pew
I realized how much I rely on my phone.
I realized how much information I consume.
And I realized how much I am actually reading.
I read everything from marketing blogs, articles on some of my favorite musicians and tv shows, to real estate updates in my area.
Now I am just hungry for more. What if we could have everything we need available at our finger tips? Imagine if all types of content could become available to us on our smartphones in a way that we can actually can read it! That day will come and it will come soon.
My self-study led me to realize that my thesis is correct. People are in fact reading every day and they are doing it every day, more than ever before. It’s just that since most of it is taking place on a smartphone, we may not realize how much we are consuming. I would like for you to partake in my “research study.”
In the next few minutes when you take out your smartphone, think about how much time you spend on your mobile phone. Are you reading, posting, banking? I bet that it’s more than you even imagined! I would love to hear about how much time you spend on your mobile phone. What percentage do you spend?
Comment below on your experience with mobile and how much you spend on some of the examples above.