Nearly everyone I know has a cell phone that displays the caller’s name and number when the phone rings. Some can even pop up a photo of the caller. It’s extremely handy. This isn’t exactly new tech; even in the US, Caller ID was introduced in the 90s. These days, I don’t answer the phone unless I know who is calling.
It got me thinking about how phone transactions have changed over time.
1894: Operator-assisted calls required long waits and sometimes multiple transactions before conversation commenced.
“Operator. How may I direct your call?”
“Albany, New York, please.”
1954: Before conversing, you needed to have a brief exchange to determine who was on the other end of the line.
“Hello, Jones residence. Myra speaking. May I ask who’s calling?”
“Hi, Myra, this is Jane.”
2004: Technology allows preliminaries to be skipped. With a glance at the display, the person answering can just start talking.
“You’re running late?”
“Sorry. At Shinjuku now. I’ll be about 20 minutes…”