FOOI #15: Make a White Pages for mobiles
When I was growing up, my family had a tattered, handwritten book of friends’ phone numbers sitting next to the landline in the kitchen. If we wanted to call someone who was more of an acquaintance though, we’d have to look them up in the phonebook to give them a bell.
Times have changed. Today, if you want to get a stranger down the end of the line you probably won’t hunt for their number in a phonebook. You might look them up on the White Pages website and find their landline number, but who needs Ye Olde Home Phone in this day and age?
More than 10 per cent of Australians don’t even have them anymore. It’s a number that’s sure to climb. Landlines are both irrelevant and surprisingly moneysucking. You aren’t likely to find many from this mobile-only demographic in the White Pages either, because there’s not a whole lot of numbers starting in 04 in there. So this brings me to today’s obvious idea: make a White Pages for mobile phones.
Why the hell isn’t there one now? If you’ve ever tried to track down somebody’s mobile number on the internet you’d know just how difficult it is. While you CAN get your mobile listed in the White Pages, it’s something you’ve got to ask for, it doesn’t happen automatically.
“We’d love for people to include their mobile number in their listing,” White Pages spokesperson Damian Glass told The Punch yesterday. “The thing is, landlines are almost like the default position, whereas with the mobiles it’s an opt-in.
“[With landlines] people request silent numbers and all that sort of stuff, but if you don’t request a silent number, based from the information we receive from carriers it goes in.”
To get your mobile in the White Pages, you have to approach your mobile phone carrier. “You’d need to go to your carrier and say you want your mobile included in the listing,” he says.
So why not make it the other way around? When you buy your phone, your mobile phone should be put up on the listing unless you state you don’t want it to.
Obviously there are some privacy concerns. But they’re not concerns that have overly troubled us in the past. Most home phones are listed in the White Pages, and you wouldn’t have thought twice about people using the phonebook to get in touch with you while you’re in the privacy of your own home.
What’s wrong with people being able to contact you wherever you are? A mobile directory would help you get in touch more directly. Just like your landline, you’d have the opportunity to opt-out of the listing if you didn’t want it on there.
And you can always just hang up the phone if someone’s annoying you.
Why stop with mobile numbers and landlines? People get in touch with you in a plethora of ways nowadays.
The White Pages could list your Facebook accounts, your business numbers and your multiple email addresses.
One directory for contacting people no matter how you want to talk to them: a personal chit-chat over Facebook, a business call, whatever.
At a time when we’re swamped by technology, making it a little more simple to get in touch with someone wouldn’t go astray.
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