Attention cell phone users! A recent survey conducted in the UK showed that 1 in 5 people use their cell phones as their only record of phone numbers. I’ve started to do it myself: why bother writing clients’ numbers down in my date book when I can just put them directly in my phone? It’s so much easier to call that way.
It’s also risky business, because the odds are better than even that you’ll either lose your phone or have it stolen inside of 3 years. I managed to do both simultaneously within a year of becoming a cell user, myself. (I’ve been much more careful since, and now carry the phone in my surgically attached handbag.)
Phones themselves can be replaced, but the phone numbers and other data you keep in them are stored in the phone, not on the network. (And some of us prefer to keep it that way. I really don’t want my cell phone provider to have all that information, thanks very much. I have the small businessperson’s innate distrust of huge corporations.)
Very few people could re-create their entire cell phone directory from memory. (I can’t even remember who I have in there, never mind what their phone numbers are.) I’m not alone in my memory failure, either: only 1 in 20 of survey respondents thought they could re-create their phone directories from memory, and they were probably exaggerating.
If you have the right kind of phone and the right kind of service plan, you may be able to sign up for data backup via your cellular provider. Or see the October 29, 2004 Backup Reminder for a more detailed discussion of how to back up your cell phone to your computer.