Mobile Marketing While Mobile?

The tragic events associated to the commuter train collision in Los Angeles that killed 25 several days ago raise questions that could be punted to marketers as to what impact, if any, new mobile marketing applications have on consumer safety. As reported by NPR in this story, the engineer of the LA passenger train was allegedly text messaging with teenage “rail buffs” just minutes before the crash, missing verbal and manual safety signals in the process.

It’s already widely debated as to the ethics of mobile and other forms of marketing because of privacy concerns, as presented via this law firm’s website. But what implications could there be if mobile marketing interaction were ultimately found to be at the core of investigations tied to accidents such as that which occurred in LA? There are already bans on cell phone use while driving in places like the nation’s capital and elsewhere. However, nothing has been implemented nationally as of yet.

In this article, the New York Times reports that some 75 billion text messages were sent in the month of June alone. The article goes on to cite that some experts feel that texting and engaging with mobile devices while performing other tasks from walking across a busy street to driving decreases IQ points by 10.

Congress is already looking to pass sweeping rail safety reforms in lieu of the recent LA accident, so, what could the future hold for mobile marketers? Similar to the restrictions placed on TV and other media where more adult content must be restricted until after 10pm, I wonder if reforms that limit the hours of the day in which mobile marketing messages can be sent are on the horizon.

With most consumers commuting and engaging in attention-critical tasks during a normal workday from, say 8:30am to 6:30pm, I’m curious to see if, eventually, mobile marketing messages may be restricted to hours before and after these timeframes. I guess it’s kind of similar to the somewhat annoying telemarketer calls that notoriously arrived during the dinner hour, if such a thing still exists in time-pressed America. I welcome any feedback, pro or con, tied to the future of text messaging, mobile marketing, and cell phone use in general while also engaging in other tasks that require attention.

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