In the beginning, the word was mobile. Jesus had a saying. It went something like, “Follow me.” For the twelve disciples, He meant that literally. Follow me…over there. Follow me…to the next town. Follow me…as we walk and I talk and you listen and learn.
And so they did.
The disciples moved with the message because the message, aka Jesus, was on the move. He was basically saying, “Lace up your sandals. We’ve got places to be, miles to go, people to reach, and in between times – class!”
Though that was a few years ago, Jesus’ ministry demonstrated a successful guideline for those in the communication biz. If you want to reach people, reach them where they are, i.e. on the road, at the well, in the synagogue, on the beach, even in the middle of a storm at sea, when necessary.
Pick your message up and put it in the path of your audience. And where IS your audience?
Laptops were once all the rage. Right along with elastic belts and Trapper Keepers. It was the 80s and the first step in the move to mobility. It would take a few years to get over our teased hair and tethered networks.
Then the advent of Wi-Fi set the captives free. At least partially. Laptops lost weight, but gained muscle. And workers were released from their cubicles and workstations to kick back with coffee and jazz in local cafes. The world had been unplugged.
Wi-Fi could only let you run so far and be so free. You no longer had to be in the office but you still had to be somewhere. And Wi-Fi had to be present.
Then, riding in on the white stallion of cell phone towers, mobile broadband broke the chains and Smartphones resurrected the dead space. With their iPhones and Androids, users can now frolic from concrete to country roads, from skyscrapers to subways. With 4G and LTE technology providing the bandwidth, video content can also be accessed nearly anywhere.
We’re in the mobile revolution.
Online is now everything. It’s where you shop, socialize, communicate and congregate. It’s your individualized classroom. Your personal shopper. Your bookstore and clothing store and retail store and guilty pleasure. It’s where you work. Or waste time. It can even be your church.
And it can be accessed anywhere with a device the size of your hand. If that’s not go-go-gadgety enough, you can use a Tablet. Goodbye traveling with laptops. Hello a personal computer the size and thickness of a notepad.
The culture has gone mobile. Now finally unplugged and untethered, consumers show no signs of going back. With broadband’s video capabilities, there is no evidence of slowing the progression, either.
TBS, who are – if you didn’t hear – very funny, recently launched their own mobile App. Their audience can Meet the Browns, acknowledge that Everybody Loves Raymond, and check in at The Office on their iPhone or iPad.
Even Michael Scott can’t mess that up.
Though mobile video viewing is not YET the majority of consumer consumption, the trend is surging and will continue. The mobile video viewing market has increased 41 percent since last year and 100 percent since 2009, according to Nielsen.
Mobility is here and it’s not going anywhere.
It’s going everywhere.
Keeping pace with the hyperactivity of the mobile community may feel as fruitless as chasing a five-year-old, post chocolate milk shake. Can you catch up? How draining will it be to even try?
It’s easier than you might think. Less sticky, too. A few additions to your online media and you’ll no longer be running after anyone, five-year-olds included. Here are four questions to consider when gauging the mobility of your ministry:
- Is your website mobile friendly?Accessing a website via laptop is a different world than accessing via iPad. Making an alternative mobile version of your website is like placing a welcome mat at the door for mobile users. It says, “Come in. Look around. I decorated this place just for you.” In the mobile web versions, scrolling is simple, typing is less, and accessibility supreme.
- Is your video mobile friendly?Adobe Flash Player allows video consumption for over 99% of Internet users, so saith their advertising. It’s a different story, however, for Internet mobile users. The iPad and iPhone do not support Flash video, a large demographic you don’t want to alienate. So what’s the best format for mobile video? A real live guru told us, “Anything but flash.”
- Is it time to create an App?This may be something to consider for 2012. Apps are becoming the right hand of mobile users. Also, sometimes the left. These nifty little programs provide a gateway to your content, with the path now uncluttered, simple, quick, and easily accessible by mobile devices.
- Have you personally gone mobile?It’s time to get your hands, thumbs, and eyeballs on it. Learning comes from doing and doing starts at Apple…or Sony…or Google. Find the mobile device that completes you. Then join the revolution. Get on. Surf. Email. Download Apps. Watch video. See what you like, what you don’t, what sites please the mobile you, and what sites do not. Then you can guide your ministry with mobile experience, while watching Seinfeld reruns on your breaks.
In the end, much like the beginning, mobility is the key to reaching your moving audience. Jesus didn’t stand on a mountain top yelling, “All who have ears to hear, come on over,” but instead walked beside, before, and to his audience. You, also, will find more eager participants when you move toward them instead of beckoning them toward you.
Think of it as walking in the footsteps of Jesus. Yes, He also knows marketing.