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The New Number One Australian Phobia – MoBoPhobia

The new number one Australian Phobia – NOMOBPHOBIA

What is a phobia? According to Wikipedia (not always the most reliable source, but relevant for this blog),  “A phobia is, when used in the context of clinical psychology, a type of anxiety disorder , usually defined as a persistent fear of an object or situation in which the sufferer commits to great lengths in avoiding, typically disproportional to the actual danger posed, often being recognised as irrational. In the event the phobia cannot be avoided entirely the sufferer will endure the situation or object with marked distress and significant interference in social or occupational activities.”

So what is NOMOBPHOBIA? Read on to find out more.

I came across this term recently and immediately was able to put a name to the distress and anxiety I recently felt when I was on a business trip in a remote part of Australia where I accidentally drowned my iphone in glass of water sitting next to my bed after I turned off my alarm.

I panicked.  It’s 7.00am and I have an hour to get to an 8.00am breakfast meeting.  What was I going to do without my mobile phone?  I tried to take the phone apart like we used to do in the old days and dry it out. They are not meant to come apart.  Don’t blow even cool air into the phone, and if it is turned off, do not try to turn it on for 24 hours. The old rice trick has been said to work.  Great advice now, wish I had known that before the panic.

So, I am left without my iphone for 5 days.  I didn’t bring my ipad or laptop as I can access all my information via my mobile phone and I was trying to economise on what I was carrying and have a mini getaway.  The office was covered with competent staff, I had two days of travel, one day of meetings and a weekend to relax.  And whilst I could go to an internet cafe and was able to borrow a computer to access my social media and other accounts and files, I did not enjoy what should have been a relaxing and successful trip.  I actually felt sick, anxious and completely disconnected.

NOMOPHOBIA is not having access to any mobile devices.  Luckily I had all my contacts on the icloud so I didn’t lose them, but I did not enjoy the time without the iphone.  When I finally got home and was able to take the phone to an expert, I was told that a Mac Store would replace/exchange the phone for $200 and that the sim was damaged and needed to be replaced.  So that did ease the pain a bit and I used my old iphone3 until I could get the replacement iphone.

How reliant have we become on our mobile devices?  How much time do we spend on them?  Do people who have to go hours at a time without access to their mobile devices whilst at work or at a function, feel a degree of NOMOBPHOBIA?

What implication does this have for marketers?  We know from my blog in March 2012 that Australians are spending an increasing amount of their leisure time on line, with an increasing amount of this time on mobile devices.  Is this a great new selling point for manufacturers and resellers of these devices?  And for businesses who are (or could be) capitalising on mobile marketing?

Now I am sure many of you are asking, “How do you know that this is the new number one phobia hitting Australians?”  Well, I don’t, but my question to you out there is, have you ever suffered any form of NOMOBPHOBIA?  Post on my Hall of Fame Marketing facebook page http://www.facebook.com/HallofFameMarketing?ref=hl your story if you have suffered from MOBOPHOBIA.

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