Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Contact Numbers and Email Addresses to the 4th Power

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In these days, it seems many of us are getting multiple assigned device numbers and email addresses - how can one possibly memorize them all?

Yet this all seems ironic given that many deaf and hard of hearing consumers may not utilize voice services, and actually end up having more phone numbers than hearing consumers.  This article will illustrate some examples of what has become common and tips on how to manage to share your contact information with others.

While the various relay services, communication devices, and various touch points (VP, VRS, email and wireless devices), are a blessing in disguise, we seem to have more numbers and email addresses for each person than ever before.

For arguments sake – below is an illustration of an example of what a family of four usually has to keep track of:

Work
- Local 10 digit number
- VP Device number(s)
- Toll free number
- Blackberry SMS number
- Fax (While its not relay related, its another number to track)
* Multiply the count of numbers by two if you have a working spouse

Home
- Landline or Other VOIP (broadband phone service) number
- VP assigned number some may have more than one VP device (I.e. VP-200, Z-340, PC based, etc).
- My own toll free number
- Spouses toll free number
- My wireless device SMS number
- Spouses device SMS number
- Teens wireless device SMS number(s) 
* Multiply by the number of wireless phones in the household

As the above illustrates, for work and in a family of four, there are about 12 different numbers to use and to keep track of.
Why I say "about" - because new technologies are forthcoming and changing all the time -thus new numbers will come and go.

Multiple Email Addresses
Now about multiple email addresses - no doubt many of us have more than one email address as well. We have them for various reasons – such as for work, home and wireless devices.

Examples
- Work email
- Home primary email
- Push email provider (for wireless device) (I.e. MobileMe, Mail2web, Fusemail, Gmail, Hotmail, etc).
- Spouses primary email
- Spouses push email provider (for wireless device)
- Kids primary email addresses
- Kids wireless phone email addresses

Add them up, that's a minimum of 7 email accounts for a family of four. Image the same with your friends – dealing with multiple email addresses and numbers.

Solution
What to do?
Only give out contact numbers and email addresses on an as need to know basis. There is no need to share all numbers and email addresses with everyone, you should selectively give your email/number to your contacts to prevent confusion.

For example, for your immediate family, share the primary contact points with them. 
For your friends and distant others, you may have a different set of preferences and ways for them to contact you.

Tips

  • Create Different Versions of Personal Contact Cards
    Use FedexKinkos and Vistaprint.com, they can print up hundreds of cards in a flash for a low cost.
    If you need a few just cards print them yourselves.  Microsoft Word and Publisher offer document templates that allow you to create and print your own contact cards.  You can buy business card paper in most office supply stores (Avery paper).
  • Document Email Addresses and Numbers into a MS-Word, MS-Excel or other readable format
    This will provide you a way to keep track of your numbers and email accounts.
  • Utilize Address Books on Your Computer (i.e. Ms-Outlook, email/ISP provider) and Your Wireless Handheld
    By doing this, it will help you better manage your contact information, and reduce the need to memorize so many numbers and email addresses.

Lastly, make an effort to memorize at least some you important numbers and email addresses for emergencies or when you computer and/or handheld wireless device is not available.

2 comments:

Matthew said...

Very interesting points about keeping track of contact information.

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