SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2011| PDF | Subscribe | Home

Too Cool for Tools
Answering a bright, shiny, existential question about digital media.

Is Facebook still as attractive as it was when you first discovered it? How about Groupon? Shopkick? Which digital tools are you most in love with, and why?

The idea to ask our readers about their love/hate relationship with digital tools occurred after asking Best Buy chief marketing officer Barry Judge about Twitter, and whether it was still as bright and shiny as the day he sent his first tweet. His answer was a bit mixed.

As for most of our 365 respondents, Twitter never really was all that sexy to begin with: A total of 50 percent said that either it “never was attractive” (30%) or was “less attractive” (20%) than when they first tried it. Just 37 percent said that either it was “more attractive” (21%) or “as attractive” (16%). The other 14 percent said they hadn’t tried it while one person claimed to have never heard of Twitter. Sure.

Based on comments, Twitter’s adherents have found a way to navigate the raging torrent of tweets and use it as a source of information and insights. Others see it as a narcissistic waste of time.

Reactions to Facebook were similarly jumbled, with 38 percent saying it had grown “less attractive” over time, and a total of 55 percent saying it was either “as attractive” (31%) or “more attractive” (24%) than before. Just five percent said it “never was attractive.”

Response to some of the newer tools — particularly those related to shopping — also revealed some troubling trends. The red-hot Groupon was deemed “less attractive” by 28 percent, while 34 percent said they had “never used” LivingSocial, its main rival.

The news was even worse for other shopper apps that get a lot of press, but registered surprisingly low awareness and engagement given that most survey respondents are marketers. A mind-blowing 82 percent said they had either never heard of Shopkick (42%) or had never used it (40%). Fifty-four percent said they had never heard of RedLaser and 44 percent have never tried ScanIt.

Even where a big brand name is attached — Facebook Places, Amazon Mobile and Google Shopper , for example — awareness and usage remain in the cellar.

Apparently this is because most shoppers are satisfied with the flagship brand and either are unaware of associated mobile apps, or see no reason to use them. Indeed, Google won the “attractiveness” derby with a whopping 93 percent saying it was “more attractive” (46%) or “as attractive” (47%). Amazon scored an impressive 89 percent, as 39 percent said it was “more attractive” and 50 percent calling it “as attractive.”

When we asked readers if there were any tools they wished were available, but weren’t, we received some suitably creative answers: “Memorization tool that helped me memorize literary passages so I could sound pretentious at parties.” “A magical transporter that instantly takes you from one place to another.” “A laser that would melt the phones of people who are talking while driving.”

And when we asked which digital tools they loved most and why, Google, Amazon and Facebook led the pack for obvious reasons. However, a good number mentioned their computers, tablets or smartphones, perhaps reinforcing that many — if not most — of these smokin’ hot apps are just passing through, and that our digital journey is just beginning.

Survey results:

SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2011| PDF | Subscribe | Home