Farewell to the value of the area code.
In an age of cellphone contact lists, many people don’t instinctively know the number of the person they’re calling anymore. But there’s another passing of telephone history underway: the telephone number as geographic identifier.
If you see 612 in a phone number, you knew it was Minneapolis. 617? Boston. 212? New York. In fact, back in the Berkshires, we even referred to the New York tourists who gummed up traffic in Stockbridge as 212ers, and not in a nice way.
Those days are over, the Boston Globe says today.
Part of it technology, but part of it is the nomadic culture we’re in. People are moving from state to state, and not giving up their phone numbers.
James Katz, director of emerging media studies at Boston University, likened keeping a number after a move to continuing to root for the Red Sox or Patriots years after leaving Boston.
“It’s a shared identify with people in that geographic region,” he said.
And in a mobile society, retaining a childhood number is a way for transplants to recognize one another.
Kelly Francoeur, a South End hair stylist, had spent several enjoyable appointments discussing “boy drama” with a client, but it wasn’t until the two exchanged phone numbers that they realized they were from the same home state.
“I like when I meet other 860 people,” the 26-year-old Revere resident said, explaining that she is still on her family’s plan. “I’m like ‘Connecticut, yeah.’ ”
Even as the area code loses its power to indicate where we live, it’s gaining “signaling abilities,” said Roger Entner.
By the way, if you’re old school, try this area code quiz.