In some ways, we are more connected than ever: Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, YouTube…these tools give us unprecedented opportunity to connect with, and attract the attention of, people who in the past seemed much farther removed: celebrities, politicians, corporate executives.
I’m also beginning to realize that technology provides plenty of tools to keep others at arm’s length if we so choose. First came Otherinbox. This allows me to receive emails, or not, while still keeping my email address private. Many benefits are exchanged for the implicit permission to be marketed to via email. Now I can reap those benefits by providing an Otherinbox address, all the while still controlling whether or not I actually receive those marketing emails, and when. Otherinbox has given me much more control over my email inbox…all the advantages of a “junk box” with none of the inconveniences.
Recently, I signed up for a Google Voice account. It’s new and different and so understandably, I still have some reservations about it. However, I’m realizing that Google Voice can be to my phone number what Otherinbox is to my email. It gives me the control to take calls, block calls, let them roll into my voicemail, and even listen in while the message is being recorded. I can also make calls with my Google Voice number, or give it out when I’m asked, thus protecting my “real” phone number, and preventing corporations and marketers from reaching me directly if I don’t want them to.
I had been thinking lately that privacy was dead. Maybe it’s just getting a new beginning.