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The modern fan's experience

I attended the 1983 US Festival – the second music and culture festival sponsored by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak – and it was truly one of the highlights of my college years. We saw an array of stellar performances and toured exhibits with cutting-edge technology. Back then, we bought our tickets at a ticket broker’s office, carried our wallets and loaded 35mm film in our cameras. Only days later, after the film was developed, could we show people our photos.

Today’s “modern fan” has a very different experience thanks to smartphones. For example, photos are shared on social media channels moments after they are taken. Apps are created specifically to help you figure out schedules and arrange meet-ups. At the most recent Presidential Inauguration, I personally used an app that helped map good routes on the Washington D.C. Metro, plan our viewing spot for the Inauguration and direct us to our parade viewing spot. Apps can also be frustrating though; the Inauguration one kept texting alerts about closed streets and missing children, running down my phone’s battery until I reconfigured the settings.

Norton today released the findings from a global survey that explores how people use mobile devices at concerts, sporting events and other big festivals to enhance their overall experience, as well as attitudes and habits around securing those devices.

Not surprisingly, more than 90 percent of people bring their smartphones and most use it in place of a camera. One-half will upload the photos and post to social networks to share with friends and family – or maybe earn bragging rights. But smartphones are being used in other ways, too: I am intrigued by the nearly 20 percent who use their smartphone as an electronic access ticket and 10 percent who will use it to make festival purchases!

The impact of smartphones on our event and festival experiences can’t be exaggerated. So you need to consider the very real possibility of something happening to your device.   

I make sure I have a good handle on my device’s whereabouts at all times and install security software in advance. That way if my device goes missing, I can remotely locate, lock and wipe it to make sure whoever finds it doesn’t go shopping with my data or start contacting my friends. And for goodness sakes, put a password on your phone.  We know from a previous Norton study that the finder of a lost phone will rifle through personal files and apps 96 percent of the time!

So this summer, wherever your festival travels may take you, remember the sunscreen, drink lots of water and secure your smartphone and tablet before you ever leave home.

Marian Merritt - Norton Internet Safety Advocate