Douglas Rushkoff says it’s not content that matters on mobile phones, it’s communication.
He’s right. That means that the cellco’s are doubly stupid. Not only could they have virtually unlimited content on their systems if they opened up their networks, they’ve completely missed the point that content doesn’t sell phones.
As the wireless industry begins on its long, misguided descent into the world of content creation, it must come to terms with the fact that the main reason people want content is to have an excuse – or a way – to interact with someone else.
Ideally, this means giving people the tools to create their own content that they can send to friends. Still cameras is a great start. Some form of live digital video would be fun, too. (“We’re at the Grand Canyon, mom, look!” or “Here’s the new baby!”)
But elaborately produced content – like prepackaged video shorts, inscrutable weather maps, and football game TV replays – are not only inappropriate for a two-inch screen, they are inappropriate as social currency.
Why are they trying to reinvent themselves when they can sell the single most valuable thing of all…human contact? Why are they trying to create the elaborate content superstructures when they should be enhancing how their hardware and their networks enable communication? Why are they nickel-and-diming us for text messaging when they should be looking for the next killer communications app?
The next killer app on mobile phones will be hosted by the first cellco to open up their network to developers.