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A contact list is a feature found in instant messaging, email clients, mobile phones, online games or communities and is usually nothing but a collection of screen names. Various trademarks and proprietary names exist for contact lists in different contexts. A contact list shows screen names that represent actual people for communicating or sharing information.
In some contexts, a contact list is also known as a buddy list.
A contact list shows screen names which could be actual names or aliases for real people. The window with the contact list allows for communication or a similar action upon selecting the name. Some applications allow users to change the display name or reformat the screen name. Most applications also allow the contact list to be minimized or customized based on a user’s needs. The style of representation of a contact list is different with different applications, but their capabilities are mostly similar.
A contact list can be used for forming social networks, distribution lists and contact networks. Information about users is readily available in existing contact lists, and can be tailored to suit different needs. For organizations or sales, a contact list adds to the capacity and a strong resource for communication. Having a list of people with similar interests could help in responding to different needs of the group. From a psychological perspective, users often find a great sense of achievement and satisfaction in building a contact list. It can help in building long-term relationships as well. From a sales perspective, having a contact list lessens the need to directly “sell the group.” Rather, they can concentrate on sending the message, as they already know the people and what they do.
There are challenges in maintaining and creating a contact list. It takes a good amount of time and effort to build a meaningful contact list and there are some times in which it is not worth maintaining the contact list based on the frequency of use or size.