I pulled up at home for lunch yesterday and was greeted by a familiar friend of sorts. At the stop of the steps to the porch sat the new edition of the local printed telephone books (in a biodegradable plastic bag – of course).
There are many that wonder why these books don’t go the way of the dinosaur since nobody uses them anymore . There are numbers that appear to bear that out. They’re also looked at as a barometer of our economy (and not one necessarily delivering a rosy message either). Slate even posted one story last spring that all but suggested that their ultimate fate should come sooner rather than later and there are some that agree.
I actually remember having a rotary dial phone in the house when I was little (there’s one of those embarrassing but apparently cute – in Mom’s eyes at least – photos of me on it out there somewhere) but I can’t remember the last time I used the Yellow Pages. I think it was sometime back in 2004 when I first moved here to get the number to turn on the Internet service.
Actually it was one evening when we had to call the cable company because our service was out and we didn’t have the number handy (ironic, isn’t it?).
I’m not sure that we’ll ever see printed directories truly go away, though it may be helpful if we had a few more opt-out programs for folks who didn’t want them delivered.
But here’s what gets me…
For all of the talk about social media tools and everyone’s use of them, it’s always sobering – and important – to remember that most people are still just getting their feet wet in this thing. We normally assume that everyone is already connected to the Internet and always has access to a computer or smartphone. That’s not the case (as much as we’d like to be).
My point is that not everyone hops on the bandwagon at the same time. We’d like them all to do so, but it’s not going to be the case. We need to remember that when we’re talking about these tools (there’s me talking to myself as well as you again).
Just out of curiousity, do you remember the last time you used a printed phone book?
And what do you think?
Photo: André Natta