Oct 16

It’s a fact that we humans can remember a catchy phrase better than we can remember a sequence of random numbers. There is actually a magical limit that was discovered as to how many discrete pieces of information we can hold in short-term memory at any given time and it’s 7+-2. There have been tons of studies in the field of Information Processing Theory that show how we naturally use “chunking” techniques to combine bits of info so we can store more stuff in memory. The effectiveness of these mnemonic devices are the reason why companies advertise with vanity toll-free numbers like 1-800-BuyOurCrap. Lately, I’ve been tinkering with the idea for a pet project of creating a little free web app that would allow the user to enter a phone number and view the possible permutations of english words and phrases that it could spell. I started thinking through what would be involved in constructing such an application making calls to the Google API and using their dictionary but then I realized someone may have already built this app so I checked around and sure enough, PhoneSpell.org does this very thing. It also has the additional feature of supporting wildcards so you can enter a partial number and have it suggest the missing digit to spell a memorable word.

So you ask,”beyond being a nifty party trick, how does this app help me and my business?” Well, when you sign up for phone service, depending on the carrier you use you are generally presented with a bank of available numbers in your area from which to choose. The tendency is for people to pick a number that _looks_ memorable by sight having few, repetitive digits. But mnemonic studies indicate that if our goal is easy recall of our phone number by our clients, we would be wiser to use an app like PhoneSpell and pick a number that spells a catchy phrase instead. The service is freely available – give it a shot on your own number.

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2 Responses to “Using PhoneSpell.org to find a memorable acroymn for your phone number”

  1. Rob Brooks-Bilson says:

    My wife’s old phone number used to spell out "eat-pork". My brother was lucky enough to have 738-hunk.

  2. Sean Tierney says:

    hehehhehh mine doesn’t spell a darn thing cause it has 1’s and 0’s in it. My friend Benny’s spells: 60-boys-8-lbs… i think he should change his number ;-)

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