Contact

This page outlines the various methods you can use to get in touch with me if you feel the need. The format is heavily inspired by rhiaro’s contact page. The contact methods are listed in descending order of preference i.e. my favourite is at the top.

Whichever way you get in touch please keep in mind the following:

This means that I won’t respond immediately most of the time. On an average day you won’t be waiting too long but it won’t be instant, either.

Email

Email is my preferred way of receiving messages. I mostly see email on my computers, but I can access my personal accounts on my phone.

If you want to just say hi or get in touch, then my public email is communications [care of] mrshll.uk. If we don’t know each other already or you don’t know how else to get in touch with me, please just fire a message there. I check this account once or twice daily, or if I’m mobile then I’ll see a notification.

I also have a private personal email for personal correspondance with people I’ve built a relationship with. Feel free to ask me about it if you want it. I get notifications on my phone for this account.

If you want to get in touch with me about my work you can reach me at matt.marshall [care of] opendataservices.coop. If you’re an existing client who’s trying to get in touch with me and has found this page; please just use that email address or use contact [care of] opendataservices.coop if I am mysteriously absent. Please bear in mind that I don’t read work emails outside of Mon–Fri 0930–1730 and that I don’t keep my email client open constantly. There are no notifications that appear to prompt me to read a message, but I consistently check my emails around 0900, 1200, 1430, and 1630. This is to balance being available with being able to complete tasks which require focus.

Phone call

I enjoy receiving phone calls from people I know, so this is a reasonable way to get in touch with me if you have my number. Feel free to call to check something, see if I’m free for a chat, or inform me about something.

I may not see the call immediately. When I’m at home my phone lives in a drawer and when I’m mobile it lives in my backpack. It’s also permanently on silent. This means I might miss the call. I will strive to ring you back as soon as possible, but if you just fancied a chat then please also drop me a line via email or SMS to let me know so I can call back at a convenient time.

I may also not be up for answering the phone. If I’m over-socialised, tired, or generally just needing some “me-time”, then I likely won’t answer the phone. If this is the case I’ll send you a message via an appropriate channel to let you know.

All unknown numbers go straight through to voice mail, please do not be offended. Leave me a message and I’ll get back to you appropriately.

Please try not give my phone number to someone else unless it’s an emergency or without checking with me first.

SMS

If you have my phone number then it’s also fine to send me an SMS or “text” depending on your parlance. Since these are delivered to my phone and only my phone, the same rules as phone calls apply for when I may see it.

I generally only reply to SMS messages from friends but only friends generally know my number so this works out. If you’ve gotten my number from someone else or if you’ve had my number from a few years ago; please let me know who you are and who gave you the number (if applicable) so that I don’t think it’s spam

Please try not give my phone number to someone else unless it’s an emergency or without checking with me first.

I don’t like to use SMS for long-form conversations so if our message exchange starts to resemble a conversation or the messages get longer, I may ask that we just have a chat on the phone or move the chat elsewhere. It’s fine if you don’t want to, but just a heads up.

Instant Messaging

My phone number is attached to accounts on some instant messaging services: Signal and Telegram. If you know my phone number or you have my username on either of these, you can send me a message there.

My relationship with each of these services is strained at best and I do not trust either of them for various reasons despite them being, ostensibly, “secure”. Please see this article on problems with Signal and this generic article on issues with Telegram. Despite this, I use them for longer conversations with friends and family because they’re slightly better than using SMS and I can access them from my computers.

Signal and Telegram are each installed on my phone but my phone is often without a data connection and lives in a drawer or backpack so my replies will be intermittent. I mostly access them via a desktop or web client, which I open every once in a while throughout the day if I’m at my computer.

Please do not add me to a group chat without my consent unless it’s for a specific emergency coordination reason. I also have a policy of muting all groupchats because the notifications are overwhelming, please don’t be offended by this if you’ve added me to a group chat and I’m quiet.

Please do not video call me out of the blue using these or any other messaging service – I will refuse the call. If you want to video-chat, please just message me to see if I’m free and willing; or just phone me via my phone number.

Whatsapp, Slack, and Discord

These deserve special mention because of their prevalance.

I do not use, nor will I ever use, Whatsapp. It’s owned by Meta and it’s proprietary so it will never be installed on my phone.

Clients occasionally request that I use Slack to communicate with them or participate in specific discussions. In these cases I join their Slack servers/channels with an account attached to my work email. I do not, however, install a desktop or mobile client for Slack which means that I only get notifications via email. This means that when I see it will depend on when I check my work email, usually this is only three or four times a day.

The Slack web client is pretty shocking and takes up a lot of CPU and memory. If you’re one of my clients and we’re already on a video call and inside a shared Document together I won’t have Slack open to chat in the background because it’s often too much even for my computer and usually I’m concentrating on taking notes. I’ll usually check on our Slack conversation immediately following a call if I want to follow up or send some links across.

I won’t use Slack for any non-paid work excepting in some extreme circumstances if no other option is available. I’m yet to be confronted with this, so do not know where my line is drawn at the moment.

I do not use Discord and I doubt that I ever will.

Social Media

You cannot find me on conventional, proprietary, social media. I no longer have — or never had — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Reddit, or LinkedIn accounts. I will not create one in order to interact with you there. Thanks for being understanding and we can chat using any of the other methods outlined above.

I do have a few accounts across the Fediverse but it’s not a great way to reach out to me as I use them to participate in specific communities. I control @mrshll1001@mastodon.social as a public-facing Fediverse profile but I do not log in. If you’re trying desperately to reach me by any means possible feel free to send it a DM but please try all other methods first.