Welcome back from the Thanksgiving holiday! Hope it was festive, fun and relaxing. With Hallowthankmaseve now in full force, it seems at times that nothing is more useful and/or life-saving than an interesting conversation point to fuel some dialogue with family, friends, relatives, strangers and anybody else you find yourself sitting next to during the holiday season. Fortunately, mobile and mobile marketing provide a wealth of such topics. We’ll provide a quick take below, but we encourage you to continue the conversation, either in the comments or with you and yours. It’s amazing, but mobile is literally re-shaping our current culture before our very eyes. Conversation Starter #1: United States Considering Cellphone Use On Planes With almost no stretch of your imagination, you can hear Michael Buffer announce both sides of this debate. “And in this corner, Social Norms! Fighting for peace and quiet during airline travel, he will not stand for the distraction and general aloofness that will surely characterize all people burying their face in their phone or chatting up a storm on the latest trip from San Francisco to New York!” “And in this corner, Modern Productivity! Fighting for what’s an obvious next step for today’s society, he will not stand for sacrificed productivity time or transportation without communication.” It’s amazing to think just how far airline travel has changed in the last 30 years, and this is another huge step. In my opinion, the airlines will have to be really specific about what type of cell phone activity is permitted during flight. Certainly, take off and landing will still be off limits. But in-flight? Can American citizens collectively handle this much responsibility? Moreover, are cell phone carriers ready for this? Will in-flight coverage become the new “Can you hear me now” ad for Verizon? Is airline security ready for this? Can we have people able to talk to whomever they want while they are on a plane? All fascinating questions. At the very least, might be a good time to short stocks of companies that manufacture those in-flight phone apparatuses. Conversation Starter #2: The Evolution of Grammar In The Age Of Mobile Phones This article starts by pointing out that periods no longer have a simple “take a breath” connotation. Due to the influx of SMS and IM communication, they have taken on new life as a point of finality. In an example mentioned in the article, a spouse replying to a request to stay in rather than go out might use one of two options: we could do that we could do that.  With the first option, the non-period says “OK, sure – I’m open.” The second option says “Well, fine, as it seems that is what you want to do.” The article then goes on to point out other trends in communicating emotions due to widespread use of SMS and IM, such as the exclamation point (“True, I swear”) and ellipsis (“Go on tell me more”). Regardless of whether you agree with the exact points in the article, I do think that written communication has new demands perhaps not seen previously (thanks to mobile of course). For me personally, the elongated hyphen is extremely useful to break up sentences. Something like “Choose blue, red, green, orange – whatever you want” works great as it mimics how the sentence might sound if I were speaking. And that’s really the whole point, right? Some tactics work, some don’t, but with so much written communication we need ways to express ourselves and our emotions. The article even suggests trying to create a sarcasm mark. Wouldn’t that be useful (should I use a sarcasm mark here or not?) Conversation Starter #3: How Do You Use Apps? Salesforce published a bunch of different stats that outline how mobile is shaping current business practices. We’ve seen a lot of the trends before, but I thought that some of the developer-focused information was noteworthy. Specifically, “Developers are building more business (B2B) and employee (B2E) apps, up from 29.3% in 2010 to 42.7% in 2013.” In my opinion, I’m surprised it took this long. Whereas a B2C app might be cool for playing games or sending folks on scavenger hunts, a native app to conduct business makes perfect sense. We’ll see which companies take advantage of app technology to help their customers become more efficient, but it’s always fun to find out what apps people like and don’t like, as it seems like everyone relies on a few go-to’s (last year one of my relatives was obsessed with an app that allowed you to pour a virtual beer). —— All right, so there you have it. The mobile topics of the day. Need more? Have others? Let us know by posting to the comments.

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