Quick, when was the last time you left a voicemail? When did you last check your phone for one (do you even know how?)
In a recent feature on NPR, two social media gurus debated its merits. One insisted it had to die and warned that the universe of message-leavers should learn to text. The other counseled that if messages are brief and to the point, they still serve a purpose.
As for myself, I rarely, if ever, listen to voicemail and resent the time it takes. If I see that someone I care about has called me, I simply return the call without listening. Is this rude? Sure, I’m making them repeat whatever it is they said. But I’d rather have the conversation…debatable, maybe, considering that most are from doctor’s offices, telemarketers, and my mother.
In a professional setting, I get so few calls that aren’t pre-arranged and/or on a “free conference line” that I look forward to a voicemail; you never know if it’s a current client calling about something non-work related (it happens); a prospect; or even a media contact actually needing to speak. But, more often than not, it’s someone trying to sell us something we don’t want, and that’s a large part of the argument against voicemail on landlines and cellphones.
I know that someday, voicemail will go the way of fax and other outmoded technologies, but I’m not ready for phone conversation to go away. Sometimes you really need to talk rather than “txt u l8r”.
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