Monday, April 11, 2016

How to contact Owen - 2016 Edition

Since my last instalment of this series, not a lot has changed. But enough things have changed to warrant an update.

The most important thing that hasn't changed is that I still don't feel obliged to be available on any network to be contacted by anyone at any time. I have some very powerful communication tools at my disposal, but I have them for my own benefit, not anyone else's.

Some more things that remain the same:

Don't Try to Phone Me

I won't answer. I'll let it go to voicemail, and NEVER listen to the message. Really.

If you want to phone me, here's what you do: Don't.

It's not going to work. You probably don't even have my number. Almost nobody does. And the few people who have it and try to use it are greeted by my outgoing voicemail message, followed by radio silence. Forever.

Phoning people is rude. Don't do it.

You might think you have my phone number. You don't. That's my business phone. It's switched off most of the time. The rest of the time it'll be answered by one of my staff, not by me.

Don't phone me.

Email Me

I have several email addresses, none of which are hard to find. They all go to the same inbox. If you want to get in touch with me, pick your favourite email address of mine and send it a message.

I'll respond when I get around to it. It may be immediately, or it may be a few days later. But I'll get it, and I'll read it.


I use two IM networks: Google Hangouts and Facebook Messenger.

I use Facebook Messenger for work only. I don't open it on my days off. Unless your message is about work, I won't respond to it.

For everything else I use Google Hangouts. Work, personal, STARFLEET, you name it... Google Hangouts is the default way of reaching me with a short message. I'll get your message on my watch, and I'll respond almost immediately (unless I'm napping or raiding or something).

When it comes to Hangouts, I rely on you guys to respect my boundaries: Try not to send me work-related stuff on my days off. If you do, I'll probably mute you until the next day. I don't want to mute you, rather send me an email and I'll pick up your message at the appropriate time.

Voice/Video Chat

If you HAVE to have a conversation with me via voice or video for some reason, Google Hangouts is the way to go for that too. I can be persuaded to use Skype for this, but I'd really rather not... I'll spend at least 20% of our conversation bitching about how awful Skype is. So for the sake of your own sanity, it's probably best to use Hangouts.

I won't accept voice or video calls unless I'm expecting them. You'll either need an appointment (set up via email or IM), or the situation must make the purpose of your call obvious (like I'm supposed to meet you somewhere, but you can't find me, or something).

I'd really rather avoid these if at all possible. Use text-based media as much as possible.

And if you need to know where I am for some reason, ask me to add you to one of the circles I share my location with on Google+.

Social Networking

You'll find me on Google+. I have a Facebook account, but I only ever use it for work. I won't post anything personal there, or anything that doesn't at least indirectly relate to one of my businesses or organisations.

If you want to be my fwend, you have to do it on Google+.

Purpose-Specific Channels

This is what's new: I now use a handful of other networks and systems within very specific contexts.


I pretty much only play Blizzard games, so when I'm in-game, feel free to use to send me messages. It's not the best system: it sucks at handling offline messages, and often when I'm in-game I'm not necessarily in a position to respond, cos I might be busy killing a boss or something. Hangouts is better, unless you're sending me a message specifically relating to the game we're playing together.

As an adjunct to, I also have a Teamspeak server. It's more efficient than text-based chat for in-game comms. When I'm in-game I'm almost always logged into Teamspeak too. Feel free to join me there.

Teamspeak is the loophole in my 'no voice calls' policy. If you time it right, you can have a voice chat with me whenever I'm playing World of Warcraft. But I am GOD on that server, and I'll block you if you abuse it.


I've started using Slack for intra-team comms for work and the USS Dauntless.

Slack is a kind of private IRC server with all kinds of awesome plugins. If you're a member of either of those teams, you already have access to Slack. If you're not a member of either team, you have no reason to use it.

I treat it like IM. I mute the DeeTwenty team on my days off, but I get alerts for all messages on both teams on my watch, and respond to them as quickly as possible. If you're in either team, Slack should be your first stop when trying to get hold of me. If not, see Hangouts.


I used to hide behind my front door, only venturing out when I had an appointment. But my job now requires that I be physically available a set number of hours a week. My workplace is a public space, and anyone can come in and see me.

If you need to see me about something specific, it's probably best to email me first and make an appointment. But if all you want to do is gaze upon me, you can find our operating hours on our website.

If you want me to come to a thing you're having (wedding, birthday party, briss... whatever) you may want to take a glance at DeeTwenty's business hours before you click 'send' on that invite. I'm a small business owner... I can't just drop everything and go to social things on a whim during business hours. I'd appreciate the invitation, but I almost certainly wouldn't be able to attend if it overlaps with my work hours.

There are exceptions, but that's all they are.

If my being at your thing really means that much to you, consider hosting it at the club. Chat to me about it (on Hangouts).

In Conclusion

I'm not hard to get hold of. I'm not evasive or aloof. I'm just particular about managing my online boundaries, and I'm careful to keep the number of channels occupying my attention (and making my watch buzz) at a reasonable level.

And no, I'll never use WhatsApp. Don't bother asking.