Doesn’t anybody make phone calls anymore? I don’t mean texting; I mean voice-to-voice.
Don’t get me wrong: cell phones and these latest i-this and i-that can be the cat’s meow. They can darned near walk the dog around the block.
And nothing wrong with texting and other cell-phone functions, although it seems they’ve reached an obsession with some, like those who can’t take their hands (or attention spans) off their i-devices when they’re driving – that is, trying to drive.
The reason I ask about phone calls is it seems voice-to-voice is passé. It’s almost impossible to find some people’s phone numbers. Their names and numbers are not listed in phone books because the land-line phone seems to be dinosaur-doomed.
Personal and company websites are a “now” means of communication, but just try to find a phone number on their websites. Good luck. In many cases, you won’t see a phone number at all, or at least not one that can be found without a frazzled search through a maze. Published phone numbers should be on the endangered-species list. Many times, while trying to do online business, I just gave up because a phone number was not immediately apparent.
If I had a business with a website, I’d tell the webmaster these things:
- Make sure the phone number is easily visible on the home page of the website, the first thing potential customers see. I want business; I want some customers to call the old-fashioned way – on a phone. Not everybody texts or emails.
- Mr. Webmaster, please identify the people in photos, from left to right, starting in the front row. On so many websites, staff members and others are pictured but not identified at all. And in other cases, their names are under the photo, but they are not in the order of the people shown in the picture. It would be nice for prospective customers or any visitors at all to know who is who in the photo – a personable, people-friendly touch. A recent example I’ve noticed is the Sartell Area Chamber of Commerce website. There is a very good group photograph of chamber board members. Their names are listed underneath, but they don’t jibe with the order of the people in the photo. It would be good if website visitors could know who is who in the photo because the names of those people are often in the news for doing so many city-connective volunteer deeds. There are lots of otherwise excellent websites like that, filled with photos of people, most often without any names or identifications at all.
- The websites of artists, writers and musical groups can be really baffling. Many times, as a reporter, I want to know about these people because they will be performing or giving talks at local venues. It’s virtually impossible, in many cases, to find out in which city the artist, writer or band is based. Most often, the band members are not identified, left to right, in the photos on the websites. It’s difficult to write a news story about those people or those bands without that basic information. Most readers I know are at least a little bit curious about where these artists, writers, band members hail from.
Another example: I recently wrote a feature story about twin sisters who own and operate a “getaway weekend” for women. Their website was superbly designed and visually attractive, except for the fact that website visitors did not know who was who in the photos or even which twin was which in some of the pictures. One of the photos showed the twins posing with Beatle Paul McCartney? What?! No caption under the photo. I later learned the twins had met the Beatle by chance during one of their “getaway” trips to New York City. Wow! The twins agreed with me, and they’re going to tweak their site.
I really enjoy visiting websites. I like their visual razzmatazz and their informative features. But, please, websiters, if you would only remember in the midst of working your visual razzmatazz to do two simple things: add phone numbers (prominently displayed) and then be sure to identify people in photos.
Lots of people still like making voice-to-voice phone calls, even from cave-age contraptions. And, not to forget, some old-timers – not necessarily nosey dinosaurs – like to know who is who in photos.
Please remember that.