Published March 9th, 2016
by Swanchita Haze

Something really weird is happening in the digital industry. We seem to be in the midst of a very unique epidemic. One that causes chronic short term memory, and total lack of hindsight.

It’s almost like digital marketers, commenters, journalists, evangelists, and whatever Shingy is, have been in some sort of warped time zone where the last 10 years of technology actually took place over 50 years – giving them a rich history and knowledge base to draw from, and a good excuse for forgetting things that happened during the lifespan of their current favourite pair of pants.

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Know what the biggest selling smartphone was 10 years ago? The Paris Hilton-endorsed Motorola Razr. The original iPhone launched later than that; in 2007 – and I remember this because I am both old enough and stupid enough to have owned one. It sold 7 million units. And this thing here sold more than double that.

Recently, we saw some bombastic tweets about mobile overtaking desktop FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER! Why is anyone shocked that mobile is growing at a stupidly fast rate? We’ve gone from having Tiger Electronics calculators in our pockets to carrying around insanely powerful computers in less that 10 years. That’s the evolutionary equivalent of going from fashioning tools out of stones to inventing the spinning jenny. And as a species we haven’t really figured out what we want to do with these things yet, apart from argue with each other and take pictures of our own faces and genitals. Literally nothing we can do with these devices can be considered a surprise yet.

The article linked in that particular tweet also mentions that “back in 2010, only 10% of Google searches took place on mobile”. Of course they did. In 2010 the biggest selling mobile in the UK was a BlackBerry – a device used for business emails and sending bitchy messages on BBM. And it wasn’t even close. They had 29% of the market, and over 33% of Christmas smartphone sales that year.

Going back to the iPhone for now. One of the primary reasons for the success of iOS has been the App Store. The most innovative apps and best games typically come to iOS first – partly because it’s easy to develop for, but also because Apple now (kind of, maybe) supports third party development. As someone with an intact medial temporal lobe, I remember that this absolutely was not the case with the first iPhone. It had no App Store, and third party applications themselves were absolutely not allowed.This is why jailbreaking started in the first place – so people could install applications. But no one seems to remember this fact – despite the fact the events took place after the last episode of Friends, placing it firmly in the modern era according to Buzzfeed Unit of Standard Time Measurement.

Now, any time this fact is mentioned, it’s with an air of shock mixed with condescension – and even back in 2011 people seemed stunned that this was a thing. But this wasn’t some long lost piece of government suppressed history, it was a fact about a piece of tech that existed a mere 4 years previously, with plenty of press and blog coverage.

And devices aren’t the only thing that people have trouble remembering.

Before the dominance of Facebook over our parents’ lives , Bebo wasn’t going anywhere. And MySpace was enough of a safe bet for a $540million investment. Friendster? That had a solid long term plan for success. Zynga was a sure fire winner. Oh wait, no. That was a disaster. But people definitely remembered how terrible Facebook games were as an investment when King Digital Entertainment came around. Oh. Shit.

Have people in digital learned their lesson and found a way to tell the difference between a solid business with a long term future that deserves advertising and marketing investment, and a fad? Well, no.

Everyone is still in such a rush to declare the next anything as the next big thing, that they’ll blindly rave about fucking unicorns and recommend people throw money at worthless garbage like and half-built dickhead eyewear. And when it inevitably falls apart, they’ll swear blind they saw it coming.

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So how do you know who the people in the digital industry are who are worth listening to?  The ones unaffected by this memory loss malady? They’re the ones who shut the fuck up. They watch, they wait, and when asked if Snapchat is the future and Periscope is going to “change the world” they tell you they don’t know or tear you a new one for asking such stupid question.  

Note: This post originally appeared on the Habanero Digital blog meaning certain parts are probably weirdly self referential or talk about ongoing feuds that probably exist almost exclusively in the mind of the author.

Digital Marketing Mobile
Swanchita Haze

by Swanchita Haze

The true identity of Swanchita is a mystery wrapped in an enigma. We receive her blog submissions written by hand using ink on parchment, delivered by a small Dickensian orphan boy.

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