In case you live under a rock — or you just have better things to do with yourself than check social media blogs every five minutes like I do (thanks, google reader!) — there’s a bit of a people’s revolution going on at the moment. And by people, I mean all those smartphone users ATT has unfairly cast as spoiled, selfish data hogs.
Who are we revolting against? The trough that feed us, of course. And why are we revolting? Because the folks responsible for filling that trough are blaming us when the trough runs low. Apparently, it’s our fault that the food runs out because our fancy iPhone apps are hogging all of it. Or something like that.
Well, the Fake Steve Jobs ain’t gonna take it anymore. And he’s organizing a digital flash mob on Friday to prove it. Smartphone users from across that sad blue map of ATT’s 3G coverage are coming together to try to bring down AT&T’s networks once and for all by using as many data-intensive apps as they can get their hooves on. Not that AT&T doesn’t do a great job of screwing up its own network without our help. But hey, who am I to argue with a flash mob for a good cause?
And it is a good cause indeed. As software gets better, it also gets greedier. The best browsers eat up the most memory. The prettiest programs take up the most processor space. Running data-intensive iPhone apps will decimate the data delivery process. But that’s not the fault of the user.
When companies start blaming their customers for being too cutting edge, too excited about emerging technologies, or too greedy to try all their new gadgets, it not only hurts the customers. It hurts the company too. All of a sudden, Apple looks a whole lot less like someone I want to spend my money with. Not if they’re going to go around telling the whole country that my data-hogging ways are hurting their simple cell phone usage.
The problem is, until more people join us at the data trough, it’s easy to blame the relatively smaller percentage of early adopters for screwing things up for everybody. And of course, imposing penalties and punishments on data usage is only going to discourage more people from, well…adopting.
I guess, as much as I love a good flash mob, I do worry that this one could just as easily give AT&T one more excuse to marginalize and demonize the data-hogging customers — or at least one more reason not to care about losing those customers if they do impose penalties and punishments for data usage. In the end, there’s gotta be a better way to do these things – for all parties involved. ATT did take a good first step with their free customer service app, and maybe that’s the direction we should be taking this discussion in. I’d love to say that with more certainty, but I don’t have any 3G on my iPhone right now, and my google maps won’t load my location, so I’m in no position to be giving directions.