How many people do you know? 300? Perhaps 1,000 if you are a busy person. And how well do you “know” all those people. Is it someone you have only met once or someone you want to keep in contact with?
I work as a Head of Sales for an IT company and my professional life consists of contact management. In my business I often have sales cycles of two years or even more. My goal is to stay in contact with the people I met over a period of at least 3 years. It occurred to me, that this approach made me face some contact management challenges and filled up my address book with 2,000+ contacts.
One sunny day, I was on a business trip to Rome and wanted to do something, I hadn’t done in a very long time: write a postcard! In my phone, I have saved the addresses of only very few people, one of them is my sister. So I bought a postcard and as I wanted to fill in the address, I realized that she changed her job last month. She also had a new email-address and moved into a new city. So almost all the data from my sister in my phonebook was outdated.
It’s nothing I have to worry about I thought just look somewhere else! I have social networks and stuff like this, there has to be an update on the missing data. I searched for it on Facebook, LinkedIn, Xing, Google+, even tried to find it in StudiVZ. But my sister doesn’t add contact details like her private phone number, (real) email-address or her postal address to her social media profiles!
I looked through more profiles and came to the conclusion that social media is — for most of us — a tool of communication on the “meta” level of the specific platform, but not on the “classic” level of our old phonebooks. I don’t add people on Facebook because I want to call them later or write an email (or in very few cases send a postcard).
Nevertheless, social media platforms have a great advantage. If I change something in my profile or post something on my timeline, all my contacts on the platform get an update. This is great and changes the way new information is shared. This fact is also the biggest problem with phonebooks, I have to manage them myself or else they get old very quickly. How quick? Well it heavily depends on which people you have in your phonebook. I made some research and here’s the results: If you have young (< 35) and educated (high school or higher) people in your phonebook, it’s possible that 1/3 of the data outdates within one year. This time frame stretches with older and/or less educated people, but it doesn’t get more than 5 years on average. This research is based on European numbers.
What I needed in the event of my Rome travel was a self-updating phonebook. That’s when the idea for swync.me was born.
swync.me launching soon, stay in touch!
Originally published at www.swync.me.