holyhippie: (Peace)
Due to the techie life I lead, I've managed to collect eight different phone numbers. All these route phones or devices that I might answer, assuming I'm in the right place at the right time. I won't list the numbers here - instead here is short descriptions of all of them.

  1. My home phone.

  2. The toll-free number that routes to my home phone.

  3. My personal cell phone.

  4. My work cell phone.

  5. My office phone in my primary office.

  6. My office phone in my secondary office

  7. My work-provided pager.

  8. My Grand Central number.

Wow, that's too many. There's no way I'll ever give all of these out to people.

If I did what Grand Central wanted, that would be the only number I'd ever give out. Instead, I'll probably never give that one out. Too many of the other numbers are embedded in people's contact databases for me, I won't be able to give them up and hide them behind Grand Central's service. The Grand Central number was free, and is kind of a toy - I'll probably forget about it or delete it eventually.

Generally, I'll give out #1 and #3 to friends and family. My parents and Valkyrie's parents use #2. However, #4 is a more reliable number to call recently - that number rings my iPhone, and that's the one I've been keeping on me all the time. #5 and #6 are set up to ring both my desk and my work cell at the same time. #5 is the one fellow employees will probably see and use, and is the one I give out on forms that ask for a "Work Number". Nobody should use #7. That one only gets monitoring alerts from systems at work.

Now the rant: Area codes. Hey everyone - printing a seven digit number on a car or a sign is useless. Giving out a seven digit number is useless. If you want people to actually be able to call you, give out the area code as well.

Why? Well, phone numbers without an area code imply that the person seeing that number has a shared bit of context with the person giving the number. That context being where the number resides, and what the area code is in that place. Having this implied context is just fine, if your world is tiny and you only ever interact with people inside that small world. I think this is a horribly bad assumption. Personally, I drive through enough different parts of California on a regular basis to pass through 6 to 8 different area codes. I don't have a map memorized of the boundaries of all those different area codes - and any business that gives out the seven digit form of their number will never get a call from me, because I will never know what area code they are in.

Those eight different numbers I have? They are in four different area codes.

Personally, I try to always write down and give out numbers using the "+1-NNN-NNN-NNNN" format. The "+1" indicates to those people in other countries that this number is in the United States. To people in the United States that are clueless about the meaning of a + in front of numbers, they tend to ignore it.
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