Making assumptions

March 21, 2010

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?

3 Responses to “Making assumptions”

  1. Michelle Says:


    If I lost my phone’s contacts, then Facebook is one of the last places I’d go to!

    Then again, Twitter may be one of the first!

    Hubby and I could exchange our phone’s contacts, as we have a lot of overlap, but before that, we have our phones sync to our computers, so that’s where I would go for my backup.

  2. Penny Says:

    Interesting! I would have never thought to create a FB event 🙂

  3. Hana Says:

    I’ve done this before, lost a phone and had to start again. I would probably do the social network thing, and ask on facebook, and then go to family and friends.

    My sentiment though is that, sure you feel naked and alone when you don’t have any contacts on your phone, BUT I find it’s quite nice to find out who your real friends and family are, and to maybe use this time as a opportunity to de-clutter your life.

    That’s what I’ve done and felt previously anyway 🙂

    My phone is a brick anyway, with no connectivity so networks are all separate for me.

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