Got URL?

It’s 2011. Sure, we don’t have our flying cars yet, but easy access to bountiful information has been a pretty standard feature for at least a decade. All one has to do is jump on a friendly internet-enabled device (apparently your fridge now counts) and the information super-highway is at your beck and call.

The URL has become synonymous with “there is a crapload of information on this product/event/place/etc., but we don’t want to show it all right here.” Nowadays I just assume that everything has a website or some manner of information conveyed via the interwebs. Imagine my surprise and consternation the other day when I came across a billboard with snazzy graphics, intriguing text and, wait for it, a phone number.

Are they serious?!?! A phone number?!?! In this era of text messaging, FaceTime and the aforementioned pervasiveness of internet devices, who actually uses a phone to call numbers? To their benefit, the creators of this billboard definitely got my attention. Additionally, I’m not sure I’ll ever forget the phone number splayed out there in ten-foot bold type. Seeing this billboard was like finding a four-leaf clover in a bucket of goldfish: kinda neat, but odd in context.

I observed an even odder occurrence a few days later in the form of a sign stuck in the ground near my grocery store proclaiming: “I can build you a website: XXX-XXX-XXXX” (the phone number has been redacted to protect the inane). Seriously?!?! This is how you show off your website building skills? A sign with a phone number and no URL? Sure Mr. website-building guy, I want to stake my money and potential professional reputation on someone who doesn’t even have the sense to put a URL or, at the very least, an email address on the scrap of vinyl advertising their business.

To bastardize Marshall McLuhan, the medium is definitely the message in these two cases. It’s the 21st century, even Neo-Luddism has a Facebook page.

If you have a business, you need a website.

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