Our Changing Use of Voicemail

It’s an issue that divides both generations and the tech-savvy from the not so tech-savvy… Gizmodo asks: Is it Ever OK to Leave Voicemail Anymore? Some of their acceptable uses included:

  • When you want to stand out [against the noise of the email inbox]
  • When dropping important news
  • When you have many questions to ask
  • or when you’re dealing with people who aren’t tech-savvy

For those under-30, voicemail usage is almost as loved as having to wear a watch — i.e. it’ doesn’t happen. And really, there’s must be a good percentage of older generations that feel the same way too. Right? I can’t say I know anyone under 55 that thinks VM is an effective way to communicate. Let alone deliver any amount of information, or god forbid, assign a task.

You also have to love bullet number 3: “too many questions to ask”. Because however many minutes the caller saved by leaving a long-winded voice message that asked those questions, you can triple the amount of work required by the message recipient. Rewind, play, copy question. Rewind, play, copy question.

The interesting trend — and a fix to the above scenario — is similar to what’s happened with fax technology. Tools have emerged to convert voice messages into email-text or SMS alerts. It’s possible these technologies will give new life to VM; certainly phone technology isn’t going away anytime soon. But must a recorded message be the default action when a call fails to connect? If VMs are evolving into just another method to ping an individual, can we not have a simpler method?

I’m also left wondering if we’re just prolonging the life of bad obsolete technologies. Getting any technology out of a law firm once it’s embedded itself is no easy task. One luddite-Partner + One luddite-Client = perpetual technological life. :)

Comments are closed.