Woman using a smart phone voice recognition function online walking on a city street on a summer day Source: iStock.com/SIphotography

Voice mails: curse or blessing?

5. November 2018 Published by Raphael Doerr

What group do you belong to: The almost 30% of Germans who never use voice mail or the 70% who do so at least now and then? It seems opinions about voice mail are divided. Whereas youngsters and young adults in particular send voice mails just about every day, people over the age of 30 tend to have their qualms about it. What’s the reason for that?

Efficient or lazy?

Typing in messages? “Takes too long,” “It’s too impractical,” “And it’s also strenuous” – those are the common responses when you listen to the reasons people on the street give for why text messages are growing more and more unpopular. In fact, the issue of time savings and speed are right at the top of the list of advantages in favor of voice mails. And the fact that you no longer misspell things and have to type them in again. “It’s also more personal,” is another argument.

So the question is: Is communication by voice mail incredibly efficient or simply a reflection of great laziness? Sure, while you record a voice mail, you can easily do things on the side, such as keep on driving without the risk of causing all too big an accident. And once you’re talking, you can easily address with two or three subjects at one and same time. Yet that’s precisely the problem for many, at least for those who have to listen to the messages. After all, you need over twice as long not only to listen to the audio files, but also to understand them. You can roughly calculate the time that wastes when messages are sometimes five minutes or even more in length.

Are voice mails more personal?

Voice mails are stories, small ones from our own life, recorded like a podcast and with exclusive content. In contrast, text messages usually contain information, loveless communications where an immediate response is expected. The average time between when a text message is sent and the sender feels ignored is 12 hours.
However, different rules apply to voice mails. There’s no maximum length for telling a story. Instead: The longer the message, the more time the recipient can take before answering. After all, you first need peace and quiet to listen to the message – and even more to reply to it. And then you talk about everything you’ve seen and done. As mentioned earlier: they’re stories. That can also be romantic. But above all it’s personal.
At any rate, voice mails are the future. The trend is towards more audio, whether in the form of a podcast, use of voice assistants, or voice mails themselves. So anyone using them now is a sort of pioneer. Even if one of the most frequent responses is still: “I can’t listen to your message at the moment.”
What do you think? Do you use voice mail?

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