"You Call Me Too Much"

I've been known to be a mean drill sergeant when it comes to making twenty-somethings change their voicemail greetings to make them sound more professional and, well, grown-up. Now comes the Holy Grail solution: a new service called YouMail, which lets people record different voicemail greetings for different audiences. Oh, and you can use YouMail to exercise some tough love with your helicopter parents as well. From an article in the Boston Globe:

Aaron Edelstein's mother in Lexington got a surprise when she called him in New York last fall. "Hi, Mom," his recorded message greeted her. "This is Aaron's voice mail. I might not be picking up because you call me too much."

So much for "No one can take your call right now." [Hah! More like, ""Whassup, it's so-and-so, leave a message." -- Anna]

Edelstein is among the thousands of early adopters of YouMail, a personalized voice mail service for cellphones being readied for formal launch later this year by a California start-up. Instead of a one-message-fits-all voice mail prompt, YouMail users can record a personalized prompt for anyone on their contact list. What individualized ring tones did to identify incoming callers, YouMail does to individualize outgoing voice messages.

For Edelstein, a 25-year-old pharmaceutical consultant who moved to Brooklyn two years ago, that means a straightforward message for his landlord and his electrician and his trainer. "Hello. You've reached Aaron Edelstein. Unfortunately, I can't come to the phone." For friends, it's a breezy, higher-pitched "Hi, [insert name of caller here], this is Aaron." His fiancée gets "Hey, Nettie Bear."

What a perfect, perfect product for Gen Y, not just because it feeds their need for customization and personalization, but also because it solves one of their biggest challenges: how to be themselves in some venues while suiting up for others.