Going old-school in a wired world
Popular belief dictates that everything worth knowing is out there on the web – a world of information only a click away. Even if we were to accept such a statement as truthful it would not necessarily entail that the Internet is the most effective tool for an information specialist. The following is written in defence of the telephone, a shamefully overlooked but oft superior way of locating information.
Do not get me wrong – I am not saying that there is not a veritable ocean of information out there on the web. Quite on the contrary actually, which somewhat ironically is a problem in itself. As we all know research is not about locating information per se but locating the right and relevant information – the kind that will lead to knowledge. Now, if we had all the time in the world we would wander around happily and leisurely on the web. However, as most consultants have bitterly experienced, time is always of the essence. Taken together it is in the interest of each and every one of us to get hold of the desired information as quickly as possible. An efficient way of doing so is to use the phone: call a specialist, an academic, a journalist, a trade organisation, a government representative, an analyst or even a knowledgeable friend. When we know little about the topic at hand it is extremely rewarding to start off by making a few phone calls, thus securing a crash-course introduction. The vast majority of us do not hesitate to use the phone when it regards private matters so why not use it for work related matters as well? You will find not only that people get quite flattered at the opportunity of telling you what they know but also that they are genuinely helpful.
Surely the web is a useful and time-saving information tool in its own right but it is not the be-all and end-all of information gathering - it is but one way of many. So the next time you are tempted to go into net-frenzy just sit back for a minute and contemplate picking up that phone.