Friday, June 20, 2014

PLEASE WAIT FOR THE BEEP. PLEASE?  Young people aren't leaving voicemail messages anymore, preferring to text instead. Says one 31-year-old:
“It seems more practical to text or email. The only reason you leave a voice mail is so the person can hear the sound of your voice. It almost seems presumptuous, for that reason.” 
As she suggested, there’s also the understandable matter of efficiency. A missed-call notification on a cellphone can be its own request for a call back. A “Call me” text will likely be read more quickly than a voice mail message will be heard, and if the matter is urgent, multiple missed calls may declare that most vociferously.


  1. Joseph Finn10:41 AM

    OK, I hate voice mail as well...but I swear to god, the people who don't listen to the voice mail, but just call back to ask why I called? C'mon now.

  2. Heather K10:57 AM

    This is my husband. "Why did you leave me a voicemail message? No one ever listens to those you know!" This is me, "I do. I listen to them." Needless to say I have learned to just text him or there is no point. Although a few missed calls in a row and he calls me like the house is on fire. So apparently my 34 year old husband is a tween or something.

  3. Jordan11:21 AM

    No one in my family listens to voicemail, which is what got me off leaving them. Also, I'm terrible at leaving voicemail, I never know what to say or how to end them. And there's always this:

  4. Adam C.11:58 AM

    While I work somewhere where receiving calls or voicemails during the day isn't an issue, my wife works in a preschool, so she can't really take a call or easily check voicemail. Short texts are a far better tool for both of us to communicate during her work hours. Likewise, I text her when I'm leaving the office for the drive home, and she texts me back if she needs me to grab anything on the way. Simple, efficient, and I then have a shopping/dinner list text to refer back to.

  5. Marsha2:01 PM

    I would have titled this one, "That was a very loud beep. I'm not even sure if this is working." Because I'm old.

  6. Roger2:44 PM

    Oh thank god. I hate voicemail. This is a rare case when I'm with the younguns.

  7. Roger2:44 PM

    "Oh! I hope you like the hotplate! Just don't leave it on, dear, when you leave the house."

  8. bellawilfer2:51 PM

    "Oh and Mark? I'm sorry to hear that Maureen dumped you, I say 'c'est la vie'..."

    I could go on all day and probably will, to the annoyance of my co-workers... ;)

  9. bellawilfer2:51 PM


  10. Roger2:52 PM

    I can already tell I'm going to have this stuck in my head for the rest of the day.

  11. I like leaving messages, but I've given up the ghost. No one I know listens to them, even my 75-year-old parents. I left a message about a month ago for my boss about a sick day, and I woke up from a nap to an email: "Are you coming in today?" Um, no! I left a voicemail!

  12. Becca4:16 PM

    Me, too. The less I have to speak to humans over the phone, the better.

  13. christy in nyc6:29 PM

    Leaving a voicemail just seems pointless when the only possible reason I could have for calling anyone is to talk to them in the moment. Missed call from me means "this conversation would work better in real time vs in writing or in a one-sided voice message. Call me back" and that's the only thing it could ever mean. Of course, I often do leave a voicemail just saying that, when I'm not sure if my relationship with the person warrants a callback on a missed call only.

    A while back, a thread online somewhere, might have been AskMetafilter, that made it clear there's this whole faction that would never leave a voicemail, and another that would never call back without a voicemail, and so...I guess those people will never talk to each other on the phone.

    (But who wants to talk on the phone anyway?)

  14. Joseph Finn7:37 PM

    Or, you could be like Scalzi and just leave this message on your voicemail:

  15. Eric J.9:40 PM

    I would have gone with "Believe it or not, George isn't at home..."
    It's gotten to the point that most of the time I don't set my out-of-office message at work. And my cellphone voicemail goes to Google Voice, so I read transcripts of any voicemails I receive.

  16. Adam B.12:37 PM

    Except that you work in an office that I'd think was very good at ... finding and tracking people.

  17. J. Bowman8:46 PM

    If they track me down, they don't have to leave me a message.
    (I'm just leaving this as guest, signing in to disqus is inordinately hard on my browser)

  18. Benner9:15 PM

    How silly one feels leaving a message -- "hey, just checking in, call me when you get this, ok, um, later, thanks bye" -- should not be discounted. Also, the more one hates checking them, the less likely to leave one. I do appreciate the software that converts to hilariously misspelled text, even if it just means infinitely more ESI.

  19. Christy in Philly7:56 AM

    I'm apparently in the minority on this one. I work with college students who neither leave voicemails nor listen to them. When they reach me on the phone, they often say, "I've been trying to get in touch with you!" Um, did you a leave a message? Part of my job with students from low-income families, who are the first-generation in their family to go to college, is to help them develop life/ career skills. Voicemail is part of that. I'm clearly fighting a losing battle though.

    I am one of those people Christy in NYC mentioned-- I don't return a call if the person doesn't leave a message.

  20. Angie in WA State1:16 PM

    It's definitely NOT just young people. I'm 52, nearly 53. I hate voicemail. Just text me, after all, it's the same number you use to leave a voicemail. Plus, I don't have to actually talk to anyone this way. Which is how I like things.