We're all moody recluses now. We're weary
from telephone salesman calling us, wary of people looking around for
us. And we never offer any information to anyone about ourselves
without a second thought anymore. One of the results of this desire
for telephone privacy, coupled to the rise of people who use a
cellphone as their only phone, is that the number of people listed in
the phone book is beginning to shrink -- and will likely do so for the
At the end of last year, 7.2 percent of American households used
only a cellphone, up from just 0.7 percent six years earlier, according
to TNS Telecom, a research company.
Americans have not been eager
to list their cell numbers in phone books. Consumers and privacy
advocates balked at the idea in 2004, when most of the big wireless
carriers said they wanted to compile a nationwide directory.
Cellphones may make it easier for people to reach each other, yet Americans are very guarded about whom they want calling them.
In the near future, your children will have to sit on your old copies of C++ For Dummies at the Thanksgiving dinner table. If they sat on the phone book, all you'd see is their forehead.