Too busy to answer that phone? The modern world of virtual assistants, technology can now take that call.

The world of receptionists, communications and staying connected has changed a lot since the early days of switchboard operators.  In fact, the whole process of connecting people via telephones has improved drastically.  Once only able to connect two phones by underground wire, today’s telephone advancements make possible services which would seem unimaginable to those living in the early 20th century.  The idea of a “virtual receptionist, a cell phone or text messaging” would probably have seemed like something from a Ray Bradbury novel.

So, in honor of Ray Bradbury’s upcoming birthday (August 22nd), below are some fun telephone, receptionist and communication facts to add to your overall knowledge and (most importantly) to impress your friends at the next boring get together.

  1. The earliest switchboard systems required a generator which needed to be cranked by hand.
  2. Because the first switchboards went from floor to ceiling, the first operators were boys, chosen for their ability to continuously move up and down a ladder connecting necessary phone jacks.
  3. Some famous people who have purportedly done stints as receptionists are civil rights activist Rosa Parks and singer/songwriter Naomi Judd.
  4. The term telephony refers to the ability to reproduce sounds at a distance from their origins.  The simplest telephony experiment can be accomplished using two paper cups attached in each center by a long string.
  5. Currently, remote answering services (virtual receptionists) are able to route calls to home and/or cell phones using a web interface, and provide caller information via email.
  6. The City of Portland, in Portland, Oregon, has implemented the use of Portland Online (a program utilizing a playlist of talented local musicians) to hipafy the on-hold experience.
  7. There once was a band called the Receptionists which featured a xylophone, along with a large dose of penny whistling.

Although the days of three digit phone numbers are gone, the need for people to be connected to one another over long distances continues.  Today, people are lucky to have technologically advanced phones and answering services (some that even have handy iPhone apps for updating “whereabouts” from remote locations) available to them.  And, let’s be honest, I think we’re all pretty glad that the days of rotary phones and long twisted phone cords are a thing of the past.

Have you had an interesting phone experience recently? Ever hired a virtual assistant, would you recommend the  service to others? Please share.