Are You Anti Voice Mail?

When I call my good friend, Jacqueline and she doesn’t pick up, I definitely opt out of leaving her a voice mail. I know it gets lost in the 5 others she hasn’t checked from last week on her Blackberry. However, I know that if I send a quick text, DM on Twitter or Facebook message that I will get a quick reply. Sound familiar?

The New York Times recently wrote a piece, “You’ve Got Voice Mail, But Do You Care?” which reiterated this common theme that we live in an age of instant gratification. It’s a burden to hit the playback button or (gasp) have to dial into your password and wait for the her drone-like voice, prompting you to the next step.
The article showed research that people take longer to reply to voice messages than other types of communication. “Data from uReach Technologies, which operates the voice messaging systems of Verizon Wireless and other cellphone carriers, shows that over 30 percent of voice messages linger unheard for three days or longer and that more than 20 percent of people with messages in their mailboxes “rarely even dial in” to check them, said Saul Einbinder, senior vice president for marketing and business development for uReach, in an e-mail message.”

On the flip side, research showed that “91 percent of people under 30 respond to text messages within an hour, and they are four times more likely to respond to texts than to voice messages within minutes, according to a 2008 study for Sprint conducted by the Opinion Research Corporation.” I’m not surprised.

Is it Generation Y that is driving the voice mail away? My mom always says, “Did you get my voice mail?” I say, “No, but I saw you called.” Oops, sorry Ma.

This shift away from voice mail probably is a generational divide, in which younger people are substituting text for talk, while my grandparents and parents leave long, lengthy voice mails. Yet, I gotta stick up for the voice mail. I still think they’re important and as impatient as I can be, as much as I’m a texting fan, there are those times when it’s nice to hear someone’s voice or they need to tell you something specific or even just say hello.

So, I wonder, are voice mails going to become obsolete? Do voice mails take a back burner to other immediate forms of communication in your life?

Photo Credit: Post Gazette, Anita Dufalla

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