The History of “Hello”

the history of hello

Why do we say “hello”? What do you say when you answer the phone? Most people say “hello,”; apparently, it’s because phone companies taught people to say it in the 1800s.

The Oxford English Dictionary says the first published use of “hello” goes back to 1827. And it wasn’t mainly a greeting back then. Apparently, people in the 1830’s said hello to attract attention (“Hello, what do you think you’re doing?”), or to express surprise (“Hello, what have we here?”). Hello didn’t become “hi” until the telephone arrived. Research says it was Thomas Edison who put hello into common usage. He urged the people who used his phone to say “hello” when answering. His rival, Alexander Graham Bell, thought the better word was “ahoy.”

When you are calling someone on the mobile, it’s not clear when the other person is there; unless they say something first and that’s where ‘hello’ comes in, a habit from the old days when we used the landline. (Hey kids, that’s a phone that was attached to the wall). Here at Irvin Bullbars we welcome you and introduce ourselves, so you know who you have called and who you are talking too.

But everything has going digital. Websites, emails, social media, Apps. What is the new norm?

Team chat tools are a different medium than the telephone and require a different kind of etiquette. You don’t need to confirm the other person is there before you begin talking because they’ll see the message when they log in.

Meeting someone in person is straight forward. You smile, shake their hand, and tell them your name. But what if you’re not meeting face to face and are meeting for the first time and introducing yourself in the digital realm? Maybe you’ve been reaching out to get a quote, create a new connection, to ask for advice, or a collaboration, or a job?  

We do a lot of replying to email quotes so there are a few ways we try to entice you to read on. Things like writing a compelling and/or topical subject line. Our greeting is polite and should have your name, (if you provided it). We do our best to provide value for you, giving you as much information as we can so you can make an informed decision. There is always a way for you to reach back out to us and we always sign off.

Our newsletters are informative too? Always full of great information with a light-hearted edge.

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