21st Century marketing
End of phone & electric companies
Rise of Facebook
Why you should use Google Voice

Over the Christmas holiday I tried looking up phone numbers for businesses. I made a 21st Century business discovery.

I knew traditional phone companies (landlines) were in as deep doodoo as traditional media. I found an online survey everyone is referencing about landline use, but again, traditional media jumps on any survey and doesn’t check the fact. That survey – used many times online – said only 8.1 percent of the nation is landline-free.

The survey I found that I put more stock in was the Center for Disease Control (yes, that one). Its estimate is 15 percent of all homes are without landlines. I think this is even conservative, but living in a major metropolitan area, I’m biased. I forget all the remote places where wireless phones are a near impossibility. FoodConsumer.org says 16 percent of all homes are without landlines.

So my big Holiday discovery was more and more places where you can hear music – bars to be exact – list Facebook pages on their Web pages and not phone numbers. This is SO progressive. Only problem, it leaves many without Internet access out in the cold (not everyone is using a SmartPhone yet).

That’s why I recommend a Google Voice presence for EVERY company. Google Voice can be picked up by ALMOST any phone (heard there were problems with iPhones, but that is a data, not dial tone, issue). You can switch which phone Google Voice goes to (unless you’re using iPhone – that’s the data issue – you must go to a computer to change which phone Google Voice rings to).

Eventually I see phone companies (landline) going the way of television repairmen, buggy whip makers, IBM and Lindsay Lohan’s career.

Also saw an interesting article on the future of electric utilities – same deal – blowing in the wind. Tempe, Ariz.-based First Solar is supposed to have competition from Chinese companies. What this means is, people – not companies – will be generating electricity on their rooftops, and will lead to the end of coal burning or other polluting power plants. Time to sell all your utility stocks. What was a safe bet in the 20th Century is as tenuous as bank stocks in the 21st Century.