Friday, September 18, 2009

Why Caller ID Blocking is Dumb

Does this sound familar? You are in the middle of a great movie. Your cellphone or landline rings. Your muscle memory kicks in, you glance at the screen to see who's calling, and observe the following:

"Private"

Quickly, you think to yourself, "My God, it could be anyone!" Your reaction to this paltry dilemma will most likely be:

A. "Wow, someone who doesn't want me to know their number. It could be important! I'll take the call."

B. "It could be a telemarketer, or someone I really don't want to talk to. I'll err on the side of caution and let it go. Besides, they can leave a voicemail, and if it's important, I'll call them back after the movie is over."

C. "There's a 'special place' in my heart for people who have the nerve to use caller ID blocking.... And it's not the one that encourages me to answer calls."

If you ask most people, the answer will NOT be A. If you choose to employ caller ID blocking on your outgoing phone calls, you should be aware that, in today's society, you are basically signing up for what amounts to "voluntary call blacklisting." Here's some of the things you can look forward to dealing with, in exchange for a supposed measure of added privacy:

  • Be prepared to, at least, go to voicemail a measurable percentage more often than everyone else. At most, you may just plain not be able to reach people.
  • Get used to writing down your phone number for your friends, as they will have to manually enter your number into their phones.
It's possible to make the argument that your circle of friends will know that it's you calling (since so few people choose to add this "feature" to their lines). However, the reality is that there is a chance someone else they receive calls from has a line with blocking, and unless you both happen to be that person's favorite callers, you can bet that they won't be answering your calls. A lot.

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