Becoming One With Our Email Addresses

emaillogoAccording to researchers, the smartphone is more addictive than any drug. There is even a name for the anxiety one feels when out of mobile phone contact, called nomophobia.

The smartphone is a wondrous thing. It has apps, a camera, a calculator, music and even a flashlight.

The most wondrous part about the smartphone, however, is that (despite what the name implies) we don’t really have to use it to make actual phone calls.

In 2012, O2’s All About You report showed that “making calls” dropped to fifth most frequent thing smartphones are used for, while “checking/writing emails” had risen to sixth.

A year later, in Adobe’s 2013 Digital Publishing Report, 79 percent of users surveyed said they used their smartphone for reading email–a higher percentage than those who used it for making calls.

Every year, the percentage of email opens on mobile devices increases, while the number of voice calls decreases. It stands to reason that, eventually, the “phone” aspect of the smartphone will only live on in name.

This begs the question…how do you reach me on my smartphone?

Send me an email!

Do you love taking calls on your smartphone? Not me.

I hate talking on my iPhone. I also hated talking on my BlackBerry, Treo, Razr and Nokia, unless I was hooked up to a headset or on my car’s Bluetooth. There’s just something about having a smartphone on my ear is very unappealing. It makes my ears ring. And, for some reason, it makes me want to yell loud enough so that strangers look at me funny.

Not cool.

Is it the form-factor? Maybe that fabled radiation? Or perhaps it’s just the tinny sound that comes out of the slit at the top. It’s no princess phone, that’s for sure.

One of my favorite recent posts was from VC Fred Wilson’s blog. Fred has famously invested in Twitter, Foursquare, Etsy, and, for you email people, he has been on the board of Return Path for about a decade. His post was called Doing Business Before Email.

The obvious and striking omission on Fred’s early 90’s business card? No email address.

It was a different time. No one had a smartphone. It was the addition of email as an application on the phone that made the smartphone “smart”. Since the two technologies melded, the use of the smartphone has increased exponentially over the years.

But back then, Fred didn’t have an email address. He didn’t have a Twitter handle, or even a blog.

Today, Fred has no business cards. So how do people know who Frank is and where he can be reached? Easy. Fred just goes by ‘Fred at USV.’

Me? I’m Dave at I’ve been that for 4 years.

I’m also DavidHHendricks at Gmail. I’ve registered everywhere with that address and fully expect to be DavidHHendricks at Gmail forever. I was so concerned with spam when I set up that address that I added a period between my first middle and last names in hopes that I couldn’t be found by spammers. Now, I just have a really formal email address that doesn’t even need the periods. Did you do something like that?

With spam largely relegated to the junk folder, I’m not itching to move my email account from Gmail–and Google knows this. That’s why they can implement things like the ‘Promotions’ tab. Everyone already knows to reach me there, even though I move around all the time, because my email goes wherever I go. But in terms of my email address, I’m not going anywhere, fast.

If you want to reach me, try my email address. I expect to be there for a long time–on my computer, on my tablet and especially on my smartphone. But if you insist on calling me, try Google Voice; you can use my Google email address above and you’ll reach me wherever I am logged in.

With email as our primary contact method (it evens works for SMS!), we aren’t tied to phone numbers linked to residential gateways and PBXs. We are free to be who we are, wherever we want to be.

I am not the cell phone number of my smartphone.

I am my email address. Forever.

Who are you? Where can you be reached? Mail me up sometime. I promise I’ll reply quickly… as long as I’m free!

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