Phone books can now be called a thing of the past. Well, there was that one time when my husband left the toilet paper roll on the floor, directly underneath the waiting empty roll, for the 72nd time in a row. But for its actual purpose of providing information to me, I cannot remember when I last used it. In this day and age my computer is always so much closer than the phone book, although it cannot be denied, it is much harder to throw across a room when frustrated. But yet I keep the thing around, try to cloak the unsightly machine with my decor or what have you. I have to keep it out and in plain sight for the whole world to concede that yes; I have a phonebook available for your information pleasure. Heaven forbid I lose another useless monstrosity. Right, because something that is 6 inches thick and could be injurious when thrown appropriately could be lost easily. But seriously, do you think I know where it is? No, because I never use it. Just about anything that I need from it can be found on the Internet. The people that want to be found will be in the phone book, but I can look them up online as well. And if they don’t want to be found, well, I am not going to find them in either place. But every year, Bell reliably drops one off at the end of my driveway, and within minutes, it ends up – somewhere – just in case I have an immediate phone number emergency where 911 does not apply (I have that one memorized, anyway).
Gone are the days of letting our fingers do the walking through the Yellow Pages. In fact, even the Yellow Pages are on the web as well. The Yellow Pages can’t be knocked; they still remain one of the most useful information services out there. When looking for local information on businesses or services, it is my preferred information provider. But I don’t raise the level of my strength training program by flipping through hard copy information. I log on. In fact, it is faster for me to learn more about my pizza place on the Internet than to find the phone number in the book. Now with sites out there like Craigslist or web directory sites, I have several alternatives available to me within seconds if I need information. Craigslist and web directories operate very similarly to the Yellow Pages, with a few extras. Craigslist is primarily a classified ad site, but it can give a whole lot of useful information. Not only can I find local business information, but can also look for housing (which will come in handy for my husband if he attempts the toilet roll conundrum one more time), look for work, social activities, and a whole gamut of community classifieds information. What makes it even better is that I will not be inundated with ads while I am doing so, as I am in so many other places on the Internet.
In fact, Craigslist is so easy to use, and now, quite the rage, having over 15 million users a month, that even my online Yellow Pages are becoming has-beens. The information on Craigslist is also current information, which is not always the case with the Yellow Pages, online or otherwise. And now, with eBay controlling some of its shares, it is holding its own even in the company of bigger sites like Google and Yahoo. Clearly, the providing of local information is on its way to become the exclusive function of websites.