Entrepreneurs of all types have attempted to kill off the phone number in place of something simpler. We've seen tokens, special re-routing numbers, and even services that offer a number you can give someone that tells them you're not interested.
A new service called RmbrMe is of a different breed, choosing to use short-code messaging to let you give out access to any or all of your social-networking profiles with a simple text message. Who needs conversation when we have Facebook's wall?
To use it in a real-life situation, you'd have to grab someone's number or e-mail address (maybe the hardest part of the equation) and text it to RmbrMe's short code (762763). If you've registered with the service and given it the credentials of various services you're affiliated with, it will automatically send the person whose number you just got to a special page listing each of your affiliations in a single place. From there they can befriend you or check you out before getting in touch.
Users who sign up get to use the service free of charge for two weeks. After that it costs 49 cents per message on top of whatever SMS charges you're incurring from your carrier. Power users can also work out bulk deals to pay less if they're planning to use the service extensively.
This whole idea reminds me a lot of virtualized business cards, or services that let you host a special page for you with your contact information. For people who are a little too sheepish to carry around business cards or scared of starting a blog these are simple and viable solutions, even though the same results could be had for free with a little elbow grease. In the case of RmbrMe, at 49 cents a pop you might be better off shelling out for some Moo cards or starting a blog just for your contact information.