Don’t leave a message after the beep

Sep 5, 2012


A telephone user texts on a cellphone. Credit: Photo by Lorianne DiSabato via Flickr Creative Commons

In case you haven’t been to a movie theater recently, more and more people are texting on their cell phones. In fact, so many people are texting at this point that voice-mail, the technology which liberated us from our telephone lines decades ago, is now on the decline.

Within a year, the Internet phone company Vonage saw an 8 percent drop in callers actually leaving a voice message. What’s even more dramatic is how it seems people don’t even have the patience to listen to their voice-mails, with retrieved messages falling by 14 percent in the same period. For the young people primarily using cell phones these days, texting is just simpler, faster and less annoying than waiting for a person’s voice-mail greeting, putting up with the menu and then going through the messages left on your phone.

So be honest: When you call someone to talk and realize you’re getting a voice-mail, do you simply hang up? Do you text instead? Are you happy that people are moving away from voice-mails, or do you lament the potential extinction of messages that aren’t completely written in text speak? Is there a way to save voice-mail and make it more appealing for younger users, or is this simply a generational thing?

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