Studies suggest that getting short, nagging messages via a mobile phone can make it more likely that you’ll do things ranging from saving money to remembering to take your prescription medicine.
But one kind of electronic mass marketing is proving to be surprisingly effective in influencing consumer behavior. It’s not the aggressive pitches to persuade people to buy something they didn’t know they wanted (Fly to Buffalo in January for $39 round-trip!). Rather, it’s affectionate nags and nudges that encourage people to do more of the things they’re interested in doing and know they should be doing. Think of it as your Jewish mother, on your mobile.
What I wonder about is how these personal messages will ultimately be received when they are merged into a stream with far less personal messages. Today, my Jewish mother has unique and direct line of communication with me. What happens when her gentle reminders are sandwiched between a stock quote and Ashton Kutcher’s latest tweet?