Dear Lifehacker, A lot of my students stay in touch by text message, but I don't want to give out my cell number. Is there a way that they can SMS me at my email or IM addresses? Or can I set up some sort of proxy SMS, so that it gets to me? Concerned about privacy, Teacher/StudentDear Teacher/Student,
There are probably quite a few ways to do this, but here's what I'd recommend: set up a free Gmail email account and have it forward all incoming messages to your cell phone's email address. (Your provider should give it to you; otherwise, try [email protected] but substitute your number there.) Then, give your students the Gmail address instead of your mobile number.
Texting them back and obscuring your number is a bit harder. Gmail's Mobile phone application is quite slick and makes it easy to send email on the go, but it'll take quite a few more thumb presses to fire up the application and compose a new message than a regular text message would. Perhaps our readers can chime in with better ideas in the comments.