The ways to reach me are astounding if I stop to add them up.
I use this great program called Digsby that lets me keep track of my seven non-work email addresses (most are dormant, and for the better part of a week the Hotmail ones have been non-working), one for Rachel, one for Ben, Facebook, and LinkedIn. (There was MySpace, too, but Digsby's not wanting to connect with it, either.)
There's my work email address and the untold number of distribution lists and alerting groups it's part of.
There's IM... on the laptop there's Google, Sametime, Facebook, Skype, AOL, Yahoo!, MSN and Twitter. On the BlackBerry, there's Google.
There's phone. There's the office phone I don't answer, the BlackBerry which mostly gets calls for Dr. James Kim, the cell phone that used to mostly get calls for Sharona, the home phone which mostly gets calls from the Federal Way Public School District nightly to tell us if there's school the next day or not.
There's text messaging on the cell and the BlackBerry.
And then there's Google Voice (Grand Central) with its ringing of the phones and its own text messaging and transcription of voicemails that can, themselves, become text messages and emails.
And then there's calendaring. Appointments on my phone reminding me to pray and do my Bible study for small group, work calendar buzzing me all day at work, and my Google Calendar (which actually has five calendars, one for each of us plus a group calendar on it.) And they can also remind me by popup and text.
It's a bit crazy. I've come to the conclusion that I probably need to come up with a better strategy.
First, I probably need to jettison a few. Anyone who knows me will contact my current email address, so I can probably safely eliminate a few. Put them on permanent vacation. Close them. Fill them up so people get errors. Whatever.
I can probably eliminate AOL and MSN. Maybe Facebook. Maybe Twitter. That still leaves Skype, Yahoo!, Google and Sametime. That's too many, but it's probably the best I can do.
Phones are probably where things are on the best possible track. The only number I give out is my Google Voice number, so hopefully that's where most people are calling and texting. I don't list my office number anywhere -- while I haven't checked, I even asked that they list my cell instead on our company directory.
If there's voicemail at home, I can listen to it online. If there's voicemail at work, I know it's someone who doesn't regularly interact with me and therefore probably another cold call. Otherwise, the voicemail is all centralized at Google Voice. Ditto text messages. Now I probably have to do more about separating out which calls go where from the people who call me.
And then... the really challenging part... what do the contact attempts do?
Right now, Digsby constantly pops up notes from Twitter, Facebook, email, LinkedIn. I can probably turn most of these off.
Instant messages on the computer go straight to the task bar without making noise.
Phone calls vary. Some ring all of my phones, some only ring the ones they should. I should set all the phones to ring and vibrate. Then certain calls should play a blank/silent audio file (that is, no ring). Others need to be more uniform. Like "The Office" plays for most of my work calls, but only if the wrong phone rings.
Ditto appointments. I need a more subtle notice for calendar reminders.
All this to say, this is gonna take some work.
And a wishlist item for future technology: would like it to be time/location aware so that it's able to switch to silent mode (like church or a movie), would like to be able to set an appointment on my calendar and have that dictate as well (like superloud for a ballgame or soft/silent for a nice quiet dinner out).
And if you suddenly find me hard to reach, you might be using outdated methods to try to connect with me.
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