Fact: not all contacts are created equal.
Nothing newsworthy there, so why a blog post? Two new services I started using this week have both forgotten this fact.
First, the worst offender, my Android phone. Right away, after signing into my Google account, all my Gmail contacts were automatically loaded into my “contacts” on the phone, regardless of their importance. Thus, people that were on multi-recipient emails with me were added, people who I had communicated once, many years ago were added, people who happened to be on mailing lists that I was on were added and every parent from every class each child of mine had ever been part of was also added.
And to most of these names my response was “Who are these people?” and then “What are they doing in my contacts??”
To add insult to injury I now have to go and remove these people one-by-one from my contact list. There are hundreds of them. I shouldn’t be doing this.
The second offender was Google+, who also imported my entire contact list and made me wade through them.
This nondiscriminatory sorting is especially frustrating given that Gmail is already separating my contacts into two lists:
Most Contacted (20)
Other Contacts (564)
So granted, a division of 20 vs 564 seems very roughly done. I assume that lots of people that I do want on my contact list are currently in “Other Contacts” so I need a middle ground. There are really easy ways to determine who my important contacts can be. Some ideas:
1. Those I’ve exchanged emails with in the past year, or let me decide the time period.
2. Those I have exchanged emails with more than twice, or let me decide how many times.
3. Those I have included in special groups within contacts.
Google+ can even go one step further and can automatically create Circles for:
1. Those I have included in contact groups
2. Those that Gmail already knows to suggest that I add when I email someone. Those that it recognizes from my sending patterns that I usually communicate with these people together.
3. Those that I have created an identical filter or label to tag all of them.
Also, my guess is that 600 contacts is not that high a number and that some long-time users of Gmail have thousands of contacts. Don’t make the assumption that they’re all good friends.