I’m sorry. You must have a wrong number.

Lately I’ve seen some complaints about random calls from strangers on Skype and MSN. It seems to me that this is a completely new phenomenon that seems to belong exclusively to the net world. I can’t recall ever having the desire to dial 7-10 random digits just to chat with someone. I’ve received crank calls, and telemarketing calls, but this is different, and fairly new.

Perhaps this is a function of the ease and economy of calling *anyone* at all. After all, I already pay for my net connection, so there is absolutely no additional cost for me to call anyone anywhere. With my home or cell phones I do incur a cost, however minimal, when I make a call. This does not bode well for VoIP. If there is no cost to make a call, will I have to look forward to incessant incoming calls from random strangers? Filtering is not a reasonable solution, as I don’t want to miss a call from a stranger who is actually trying to reach me, as opposed to the women on MSN who “want to show me something”.

More importantly, have the rules of etiquette completely broken down? Where is Miss Manners when we need her most? I sincerely hope that this doesn’t lead to wholesale regulation of online communications. I envision a future where I have a single device, connected to the net, that enables me to phone, email, and pretty much else. Oh, and wirelessly too. I already have a bad habit of hitting keys on my laptop keyboard when I mean to be dialing the phone, so I wish someone would hurry up and combine the two completely.