Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Address book sanity

How do you organize the email addresses, phone numbers, and street addresses of the people that you contact? If it's anything like the way I used to do it, then you probably had a bunch of phone numbers in your cell phone, email addresses in your email software, and street addresses in a bunch of different places. About a year ago, I got my first smart phone (it was an iPhone, for those wondering, but that is irrelevant to the story). Rather than have my contacts moved from one phone to the other, I decided to start fresh, and to consolidate all my contact info. I choose to consolidate it in gmail, because of the availability of syncing options, and i was already using it for email.

Using Verizon's backup software, I was able to print out all of the phone numbers from my old phone. I did a quick pass though and circled all the contact numbers I thought I wanted to keep. I then went through my gmail contacts and deleted contacts I no longer needed. I then added my phone numbers to my google contacts, adding to existing contacts when available, and creating new contacts as needed. After that I found all the street addresses that I could, and added them to google contacts. Pretty soon I had a solid contact list in google contacts.

At the time, I used Nueva Sync to sync my google contacts to my iPhone. Nueva Sync is an over the air sync tool. After a few minutes, All my google contacts were on my iPhone! Awesome. After having had this setup for a year and a half, I can't understand how i survived with such a disorganized contact system. I guess, as with with a lot of things, you don't realize how bad things are until you change it.

I realize that not everyone has the same set up as I do, and that's okay. However, I strongly encourage you to consider what options you do have. If you are on pen and paper, make sure you have one address book with all contact info. If possible, I highly recommend electronic systems that sync between a mobile phone or PDA and some service on the internet. With contacts in a mobile device as well as on the internet, you will pretty much always have your info available. And you don't lose all your numbers if you lose your phone.

If you use gmail, you already have an electronic address book in Google contacts. Google sync sysns with several mobile devices. Soocial is also an address book/ syncing option. And there are others, just a google search away - check them out.

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