The End of the Address Book

The End of the Address Book

AddressBookA few years ago I ran a Web Annotation start-up called We decided to print businesscards showing nothing but our names and emailaddresses and annotate them as needed. I don’t think we ever had to annotate anything however. Once people have your emailaddress then they pretty much have everything else too. We still have those businesscards. Just a name and an emailaddress.

Patrick just asked me for the emailaddress of Jeff Jarvis. He said “Do you have Jeff Jarvis’ email address?” and I replied “Sure!” and opened my AddressBook app. No record for Jeff Jarvis. Odd?

No, not at all. He spoke at our conference once, attended dinner at my house and we met again in Germany at another conference. In the past 2 years we exchanged maybe 6 or 7 emails. I know Jeff and know how to reach him. More importantly: I know he knows me*.

So I did a search for ‘Jarvis’ in my email application and within seconds I had a few email threads and all the contact details I needed for Jeff and passed them on to Patrick.

My next logical step would be to add Jeff to my AddressBook. By why would I really? It makes so much more sense to look him up in my email application and hit reply on his last message instead of composing a new message. The advantages:

1: bigger chance I will email him at his most current emailaddress
2: bigger chance that Jeff will read the message
3: bigger chance that Jeff will remember me when he sees the context in which we met earlier

So no, I didn’t add Jeff to my AddressBook. Basically the only reason to keep up my AddressBook is because it is easier to access phone numbers that way when I want to call someone on my iPhone. But how often do you imagine I’m going to give 99% of my AddressBook a call?

I currently have 2073 addresses in my AddressBook. I wish I could just delete them all and start all over. I would keep only the people in there that I actually want to call now and then and whose home address matter to me. The rest is easier to find though my email archive.

* = Please Jeff, tell me you remember me! :-)

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