I'm a "less is more" girl when it comes to downloading and using apps. Call me lazy or crazy but I like to keep my digital life as easy, uncluttered and basic as possible. The most recent app I have downloaded is called Sudo and I've been telling everyone about it because it's really improved my little digital life. I love it because as awesome as the digital world as become in the amount it has allowed us to do, this app addresses the ugly side of constant connection: lack of information privacy and security. Besides big scary things like data leaks, hackers, and card theft there are many times what you want is as simple as not giving your personal phone number or email...like when you're meeting strangers via dating apps, setting up dates with them, going on said dates, and then risking whether or not you want to continue to communicate. I've got a few stories around dating apps but there's one in particular that came to mind when I first heard about Sudo and made me wish I had this app back then.
The last time I talked about my adventures in dating was in this Toast Talk. At that point my social media dating extended as far as Tinder. What I didn’t mention in that post was that when I told my friend I had set up an account, I got some interesting feedback. Some of them were really excited to play around with the swiping themselves (married people love trying this) and eager for me to get drinks with strangers, but one friend (my best guy friend) was concerned. He knew that guys would be asking for my phone number and was concerned about random men having direct access to me outside of the app. The day after I told him about Tinder he showed up and said, “Here’s your new phone and phone number. I only got you enough minutes and texting for the rest of the month and please don’t go online.”
This was by far one of the most hilarious and thoughtful things anyone has ever done for me. I had a burner phone that flipped open and a number I was never going to be able to memorize but I loved that this friend was so committed to me keeping my personal information safe. Forget Tinder, this was tender.
If you haven’t been in the social media dating arena you might be skeptical in believing that people want to connect outside of the messaging within the apps, and you would be wrong – guys loooove having a call first or getting your number so they can text you leading up to the date. I gave out the burner phone number a few times and I have to say, it made it a lot easier to ghost** people out when I, a) didn’t feel like I ever want a date to happen, or b) went on a date and didn’t want to continue things. But le burner was not the most convenient…I don’t know how people juggle multiple phone devices and numbers (I haven’t had a secondary number – not even a work one – for years) and I was terrible at it. I’d be on a date and would get asked for my number and rather than be all, “Oh one second, I need to find that slip of paper with my burner number…” I would cave and give out my real digits. Cringe. My parents might not feel proud to know that I ignored a lot of outreach from potential suitors but it’s what I felt like I had to do after making the mistake of providing my number.
Generally, all the men that got my info were completely harmless, nice guys. There was only one instance when I felt I made a huge mistake in giving out my true contact information…after I wrote my Toast Talk I got into super single desperation mode and ventured into more dating options. Hinge, Bumble, and Match.com. That last one was probably the worst – ANYONE can message you (even with all the filters you set up about what you’re looking for) and it starts to feel like harassment. Truth: I had 60 year-old men asking me if Oklahoma was too far away. But there was one man who seemed promising and that I had a fair amount in common with. He asked for my number so we could set up a date, I didn’t think anything of it because I was excited, he called and we decided to meet for drinks later in the week.
I knew when I met this person that something was off…but figured he needed a drink or two to loosen the nerves. But after two drinks he suggested going to another bar. I agreed and got in his car. Um, big mistake. We went to two more bars (mind you, this was on a random Tuesday) and I actually started to feel really nervous and trapped. Nothing too terrible happened – I ubered home after thinking, “To hell with being polite, I need to separate myself from this stranger,” because I had a gut feeling that if I didn’t leave that things could escalate and get really strange. That night I got three text messages. Next day, multiple messages and a voice mail. Day after that another voice mail and more messages. I finally had to text back and say, “Taking myself out of dating for a while.”
And that was the truth, I deleted all my accounts after that experience. I can’t totally put my finger on what it was but I just didn’t feel safe about the process anymore. Yes it was my fault for giving out my number but at the time I felt like the risk was worth the possible reward (which was not the case). By this time my burner phone had passed its month of data and really, I was just over trying to juggle another phone or worry about giving out my own info.
I know I’m not the only person – male or female – who has felt dealt with the craziness that comes with the current dating landscape. And I’m pretty positive that I’m not the only one who has regretted giving my phone number away. Had I been introduced to Sudo at the beginning of my social media dating life, I might have lasted a lot longer. Once you download the app and enter some general info, it generates an secure and private email address and phone number (meaning, these aren’t sold to Big Data) that is within your phone, so you can still text, call, and email from your personal phone or computer (no burner!) while retaining a layer of safety and anonymity.
But Sudo isn’t just great for singles looking to mingle, it’s applicable for nearly every situation where you might not want your true info to be in the hands of strangers – whether for safety or convenience factors. It’s not necessarily about privacy and anonymity but about having identity empowerment no matter what the situation…shopping online, traveling, selling on Etsy, or browsing online. Sudo lets you do all this and more without collecting any of your personal data or tracking and monitoring your communication and online behavior.
I already have my Sudo number in use for Favor Delivery and I’m going to be using Sudo to communicate with upcoming Airbnb rentals, setting up accounts that require an email (it’s going to be a great way to separate my utility and bill accounts), and I know the SudoPay single-use virtual credit cards will come in handy when making purchases from unfamiliar websites. Were I still using social media dating apps I would of course be using Sudo when and if I felt the need to give a phone number. But I’ll give an update on my love life in a different post down the road. Just take my advice and download for the Sudo for yourself here and get identity empowerment into your own hands!
**Too coincidental not to include. This morning, the Skimm (my favorite daily read) definited Ghosting: “The word for that guy you met on Bumble, went on three dates with, and never heard from again. A new study says that almost all millennials are guilty of this kind of thing. Swipe right, date, disappear. Repeat.” See! It’s real!