Mobile e-mail is lonely hearts' best friend
For a while, it was popular to look to wireless internet adoption in Japan to get an idea of what it would be like in the US. Some people thought it was a great model to study, while others felt that cultural differences made it difficult to translate success from there over to the US. IDG has a column written by a Japanese writer trying to explain why text messaging between mobile phones is so popular in Japan. The summary (as far as I can tell) is that it’s an easier way for shy people to communicate and to waste time. The best quote in the article: “Before the invention of the wireless Internet, people on a train must’ve been bored to death, that’s why they needed to do things like, reading books.” Throughout the article, though, you can certainly see the cultural issues in Japan that has made text messaging so popular, and it’s unclear if the same factors will have an impact in the US. A lot of the second half of the article talks about lonely people making connections with other lonely people using their mobile phones. In the US, I think this is already being done over the regular internet, so I doubt that particular factor will have much influence on wireless internet adoption. This doesn’t mean, of course, that the wireless internet won’t catch on here, but Japan might not be the perfect model to study.