Keep in touch without being in touch

  • August 13th, 2006

From the work-at-home freelancer, to the privacy-minded individual hesitant to share an actual mobile phone number with contacts, the internet provides an incredible number of solutions to keep in touch with others. Forget your personal number the next time you have to hand out actual digits. Make use of the – often free – resources online in order to keep in touch with contacts.

Maintain some degree of separation between work and play. Doing so will alleviate the burden of work from creeping into your personal life.

Straight to voicemail

Although questionably unprofessional, disposable or temporary numbers which send callers directly to voicemail have proven to be a valuable method for pre-screening contacts. Oftentimes, you may find yourself in a scenario which requires some type of alternative correspondence option aside from a standard email address.

Disposable voicemail-only numbers act as an intermediary for individuals which you have yet to discern between being an arbitrary stranger or a bona fide contact.

Of the handful of free voicemail solutions available to internet users – including AIM Digits and K7 Unified Messaging – the personal recommendation is NetZero’s Privatephone service.

NetZero’s Privatephone service offers users with a wider selection of area code options in comparison to AIM Digits or K7. Privatephone users also enjoy the convenience new voicemail notifications via email or mobile handset text messages.

VoIP call forwarding

Somewhat tedious to setup, VoIP call forwarding may be a viable solution for maintaining personal number secrecy while allowing contacts to reach you at any given moment. For €30 or $38 US a year, you can register a SkypeIn phone number. Skype users can then offer their SkypeIn number as a valid alternative rather than handing a mobile number. Contacts attempting to contact you via SkypeIn can then be forwarded to your mobile number using Skype call forwarding. I have used this on many occasions in order to mask a mobile number from users while maintaining contact with others – even away from a computer.