What's The Story With Your Area Code?

from the conversation-starter? dept

A year and a half ago, we pointed to a NY Times article about how the concept of the area code was dying thanks to mobile phones and VoIP. However, it seems that the NY Times (with a different reporter) is revisiting the idea, and noting that people often feel a sentimental attachment to an area code, and keep that phone number long after they move for a variety of different reasons. For some, it's a way of reminding themselves where they're from or where they went to school. For others, it's a "commitment" to someday go back. For others, it's just a good networking conversation starter -- as people ask where that area code is from. Of course, then there are those who just keep the number for convenience, so that anyone from their past can always reach them. So while the concept of the area code actually meaning you're calling a specific geographic location may be dead -- the geographic association with the area code may not be.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    kingmanor, Feb 20th, 2006 @ 1:41am

    NYC

    Here in NY having a 212 area code is immensely important for a business's perception. But you simply cannot get them anymore. 646 is the default for new regular phone service.

     

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  2.  
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    discojohnson, Feb 20th, 2006 @ 1:48am

    No Subject Given

    growing up military i had plenty of new numbers to have to remember. now that i'm military myself, i rather enjoy the fact that i can keep my number each time i move. it definately helps with maintaining contacts..so to me, it's a technological step that was aimed at pleasing the consumer.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2006 @ 1:48am

    my ### is bigger than yours.

    What ever happened to "moving forward"? Why are some people so stuck on the past that they feel the need to grab and hug a set of numbers - to show-off their pride - of the past.

    Is there some status about having a 909 area code, over having a 213 area code?

    ...next, people will start bragging about how they now have a @gmail email address and look down upon those who have something other than that (or vice versa).

     

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  4.  
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    discojohnson, Feb 20th, 2006 @ 2:00am

    Re: my ### is bigger than yours.

    what? classes of people? not in this country.

     

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  5.  
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    MadJo (profile), Feb 20th, 2006 @ 2:11am

    Re: my ### is bigger than yours.

    well, I'd like to see a 404 area code :)

    oh and I already have a GMail addy.

     

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  6.  
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    fuzzmanmatt, Feb 20th, 2006 @ 2:21am

    Re: my ### is bigger than yours.

    I was always intrigued by the telephone exchange system. It was always nice to look at somebody's phone number and know where they're from, but it doesn't happen anymore unless you live in sparsely populated areas. Around me, there used to be a good distinction between physical areas and the exchanges associated with them, now, not even the wireless carriers have their own exchanges.

     

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  7.  
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    curt, Feb 20th, 2006 @ 2:28am

    X-10

    As a Generation Xer growing up in the Silicon Valley, I have been 10 digit dialing as long as I can remember. 7 area codes over 9 Bay Area counties and I really donít pay much attention when dialing a phone number

     

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  8.  
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    Chris, Feb 20th, 2006 @ 3:05am

    High numbers

    Well I lived in alaska, and the entire state's area code is 907. Makes it rather nice, you only have to remember the 7 digits.

     

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  9.  
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    Sean, Feb 20th, 2006 @ 4:24am

    "Area codes" should be dead

    I live in Maryland and have my phone service through the cable company. I have unlimited local and long distance for $40 on my home phone. All phone companies should go to this type of pricing structure. With a lot of metro areas having multiple area codes and 10 digit dialing, mind as well just dial the area code and number a drop the stupid 1 for long distance.

     

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  10.  
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    felix, Feb 20th, 2006 @ 4:46am

    in the UK they get area codes tattoed on back of n

    There are gangs in the UK who use their area codes to represent. I've heard of people getting it tatooed. So you can't move EVER :) There's a lot of violence between neighboring districts. Pretty stupid really.

     

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  11.  
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    Seth, Feb 20th, 2006 @ 5:11am

    I kept my number

    I kept my number because Cingular wants to charge almost 30 bucks to change it. I don't see why there should be a charge to change the area code anyhow since my old one would just get released and another assigned to me. It's probably like 3 mouse clicks but a decent way to rake in more cash.

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Tyson, Feb 20th, 2006 @ 7:14am

    Re: I kept my number

    I kept my number because Cingular wants to charge almost 30 bucks to change it. I don't see why there should be a charge to change the area code anyhow since my old one would just get released and another assigned to me. It's probably like 3 mouse clicks but a decent way to rake in more cash.

    All you have to do is tell them that you are getting harassing phone calls and you want to change you number to get them to stop calling. They will normally give you one number change for free, you just have to know how to talk to them :)

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2006 @ 7:54am

    Re: X-10

    But you still call it dialling? Are you using a rotary phone?

     

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  14.  
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    Jim Sewell, Feb 20th, 2006 @ 8:26am

    Areacode use

    If they are still planning to charge for long distance calling then the area codes help know if you are going to be charged or not and if you need 1+Area Code in front of the number.

     

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  15.  
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    Dustin, Feb 20th, 2006 @ 8:38am

    Re: my ### is bigger than yours.

    If you want a 404, you have to move to Atlanta, GA.

    PS. I've had a gmail address for a LONG time.

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2006 @ 11:34am

    No Subject Given

    I'm a lifetime 415'er and rarely interact with people outside of my area code. Snobbish? Maybe. But there really just isn't much of value in the Bay Area that isn't in SF.

     

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  17.  
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    Gabriel Tane (profile), Feb 20th, 2006 @ 1:32pm

    Missing the original point

    The original point of the Area Code wasn't just a geographical indicator, it was to make sure there were enough numbers. In a 7-digit number (where the first number cannot be 0) there are only so many combinations. I know there is some kind of math function that can figure that out, but I'm tired. Don't feel like digging.

    Anyway, while the answer to "how many numbers can there be" is a pretty big figure, it's still only a fraction of phone users in the nation. Therefore, we need a way to repeat some of those numbers while not duplicating them. In other words, we need more numbers. Find that math figure and add area codes into the mix. See how big that gets.

    Area codes will always be here, unless we just stop calling the AC's and all go around w/ a 10-digit number.

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Mousky, Feb 20th, 2006 @ 1:48pm

    Re: Missing the original point

    Most, if not all of North America, should be capable of 10-digit dialling. And you are correct there are more phone numbers than phone users. Even though a business my advertise a single phone number, it may have hundreds of phone numbers - one for each outside line.

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Faiser, Feb 20th, 2006 @ 8:15pm

    Two illustrations

    Two illustrations of this cool phenomenon:
    * Reggie Bush, NCAA Heisman winner, wore the letters '619' on his eye black. This is, of course, a reference to the area code of San Diego, whence he travelled to USC.
    * Rey Mysterio, WWE wrestler, owns a move called the '619.' This is another reference to the 'Diego.
    Interesting illustrations in that they highlight different facets of the US culture over which the importance of an area code has spread. Good stuff.
    out

     

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  20.  
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    curt, Feb 21st, 2006 @ 12:41am

    Re: X-10

    What better to call it? Numeric telephone addressing... I simply refer to it as dialing as it has been known to be called. Some people refer to slip lock pliers as channel locks, what is the difference. 10 digit phone numbers are the current standard in many places, or at least how it is done.

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    curt, Feb 21st, 2006 @ 12:54am

    Re: 415 lifer

    Thank God they reduced the 415 area cod and created the 650. It helps keep narrow minded people who would base their social connections on an area code. The last thing we need is these types of people getting out of their sheltered routine and exploring the world and who it has to offer. I can only hope that there is never an overlay area code in San Francisco and that as future needs arise that the 415 will once again shrink and there by shrink the worlds and minds of these types of people, to whom I might be referring. Whatever you do stay north of the 408! We here in the 831 enjoy a much more peaceful and open minded way of life than anyone who would center their world in such a disillusioned manner.

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    curt, Feb 21st, 2006 @ 12:58am

    415 lifer snob

    Thank God they reduced the 415 area cod and created the 650. It helps keep narrow minded people who would base their social connections on an area code. The last thing we need is these types of people getting out of their sheltered routine and exploring the world and who it has to offer. I can only hope that there is never an overlay area code in San Francisco and that as future needs arise that the 415 will once again shrink and there by shrink the worlds and minds of these types of people, to whom I might be referring. Whatever you do stay north of the 408! We here in the 831 enjoy a much more peaceful and open minded way of life than anyone who would center their world in such a disillusioned manner. Life is full of splendor everyone else explore

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Howard Plumley, Feb 21st, 2006 @ 5:36am

    Area codes and words

    Once upon a time all of north Florida was 904. When it split to make 352 the Capitol in Tallhassee chose to keep the 904 and we got FLA. A later split got a lot of small towns 386 (FUN). The next split gave the 904 to Jacksonville, a more populous area, and Tallhassee ended up as 850 TL0 (They lost out).

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    paulv, Mar 17th, 2006 @ 9:28am

    Re: NYC

    As a matter of fact, although as rare as rent stabilized apartments these days, 212 phone numbers do get released eventually when someone abandons them and you see them pop up on ebay once in a while, look for "212 area code SIM card" or such.

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 30th, 2006 @ 7:21am

    Re: Re: I kept my number

    All you have to do is tell them that you are getting harassing phone calls and you want to change you number to get them to stop calling. They will normally give you one number change for free, you just have to know how to talk to them :)

    Not so fast. Modern technology has helped reduce the harassing phone calls with Caller ID and records of every call, such as local incoming calls. Any intelligent customer service agent will offer the service of investigating any harassing calls. They probably have some department to deal with this and and reporting to the police if necessary.

     

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