I usually discount reports and articles which analyze the differences between generations especially when they relate to technology use and information gathering. I worry about libraries using such reports to stereotype their users without gathering evidence about how THEIR community really does work. Actually I probably worry more that someone is making assumptions about ME based on age and gender. I bridle at the suggestion that people my age do not use tech and online social networks or I use them less well than my 18 year old daughter.
But today I encountered a generational difference that I wanted to report.
My daughter accidentally wiped her phone including her contacts list. She didn’t have a back up as she uses a non web connected Blackberry phone with a Linux laptop. Backing the phone up is doable but problematic so she hadn’t done it. That is nothing different- we have all been there.
And we all live in dread of doing something similar. I hesitated syncing with Google contacts when they said that the initial sync is one way and will delete the list. Delete my years of data! No way. Not going there. I have my contacts backed up to Outlook on my laptop and the corporate server via Exchange. I compromised with an initial import to Google contacts that I later regretted. Not only have they got out of sync but the implementation of Buzz bought home to me how much I keep my networks separate. The people in my phone list are not the people I regularly email and they are not the people I connect with on online social networks. There is some overlap. My family and friends that I email or phone are most likely to be on Facebook if anywhere. But my phone list includes businesses that I use. I do not want them on my Facebook list or Buzz. (Sadly my contacts list also includes people I only ever contact by sending a Christmas card to. That needs work but I wouldn’t want to either loose their addresses or have their details in my social network.)
Back to my story. My daughter is attempting to recreate her phone list by creating a Facebook event to bring her plight to her network’s attention. So in her situation the majority of her phone list network IS in her online social network. I rang her to say how novel that was but apparently others in her network have done the same thing.
So there are several elements that I would like to hear back from people:
- How much does your network segment between different communication tools?
- How do you backup your phone contact list? How would you need to recreate it if it was lost?
- Have you any stories that have reaffirmed for you those articles about digital natives doing information gathering differently?