That strange, somewhat vulnerable feeling of not having to commit your friends' phone numbers to memory shouldn't bother you for much longer, at least one analyst predicts. Adib Ghubril, an analyst with Gartner, has asserted that Internet handles will become the primary way of contacting our friends and colleagues:
Ghubril said the emergence of Internet handles is "not that far off." He predicted that by 2016, 20% of cell phone numbers will be displaced by Internet handles. His prediction is fueled by the fact that smartphones and other wireless devices are exploding in use, with a greater dependency on messaging and applications such as video chat than on traditional voice communications.
Now that more adults are using the Internet for leisure and fun than ever before, it seems like a natural progression that in the near future we'll be exchanging screen names instead of email addresses and phone numbers. Still, it seems like a a great leap to assume that humans will simply not care for telephone numbers anymore. Will people really start to perceive telephone calls the same way we regard snail mail today? Ghubril seems to think so:
The value of a handle could become so important in coming years that parents might consider adding the handle to a child's birth certificate, he said.
Given that detail of Ghubril's prediction, it sounds like he's been reading Yevgeny Zamyatin's We.