Smartphones’ Impact on the Human Mind & the Event Industry

By Samantha Gennett

Smartphones’ Impact on the Human Mind & the Event Industry

It’s no doubt that our culture has radically shifted since the introduction of the smartphone; it’s become more than just a piece of technology, it’s practically an added limb to our bodies. Throughout the last few decades, there have been changes in human behavior as the smartphone has become increasingly assimilated into our daily lives. In regard to the event industry, some people still deny the omnipresence of the smartphone, but technology is here to stay and it’s important to understand it and learn how to utilize it to enhance an attendee experience for the better.

Before discussing how smartphones can improve the event industry, the large effect that smartphones have on human behavior should be considered. For example, a study performed by Dscout revealed that the typical cellphone user touches their phone 2,617 times per day (and 5,400 in extreme cases). In fact, medical professionals are currently exploring the psychopathological effects of smartphones on their users; “nomophobia” was a term coined in 2008 for the fear of being without a working cellphone.

Due to technology’s dominant presence in our current culture, the average human attention span has fallen from 12 to 8 seconds since 2000 according to a study done by National Center of Biotechnology Information and Microsoft; there is a strong correlation between our attention span’s drastic drop and the uprising of the smartphone. With the ongoing buzz of innumerable forms of media constantly in our peripheral, people have become more responsive to small bursts of information in increments. Technology has changed the way that our minds retain knowledge.

There has also been a paradigm shift in the way that people consume information—the information now finds us on its own. As opposed to trekking to the library (or, more recently, going to a website), our smartphones make us privy to endless information at all hours of the day and night. Not only is the information now the active party in relationship between human and information, but our technology is intelligent enough to deliver information to us that suits our interests based on a variety of factors.

With all of that in mind, there is, in fact, a way to leverage this cultural dependency on technology to create a more meaningful event and conference experiences which is what MeetApp aims to accomplish. MeetApp, through a study, found that people best retain information through small, iterative bursts over a period of time—this method makes information “stickier” as opposed to the traditional, large, single-send approach that is outdated at this point in history. For example, if you’re trying to obtain feedback from your audience members, it is more effective to send attendees a single question incrementally throughout the event rather than a large bunch of questions once.

Recognizing that this paradigm shift is not temporary, but permanently embedded in our society is how event apps like MeetApp can not only deter the smartphone from being a mere distraction, but an effective tool in enhancing the event experience.