Baby Steps

Teen Beep

What's the "007" about pagers?

Parents just don't understand--well, a lot of them don't, anyway. And that's part of the allure of pagerspeak for a generation of teens that treats pagers with the same sort of reverence other generations reserved for boomboxes and CD players. It's a whole new technological world--one with its own language.

For those not in the know, pagerspeak consists of numerical combinations that translate into friendly, prodding and even downright derogatory messages that kids leave each other. According to a list of pager codes compiled by Motorola, "13" is "I'm having a bad day." Other samples: "1" means "You da man," "1776" means "You're revolting," and "007" means "I've got a secret."

Some codes are easier to crack than others, but for entrepreneurs who want to market to pager-toting kids, it'd certainly be wise to do a little number crunching.

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This article was originally published in the April 1998 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Baby Steps.

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