Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Why voicemail is dead (to me)

If there’s a young person or standard geek in your life, you know about the voicemail problem.

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Even if your call wasn’t ignored by the recipient. Which let’s face it, sometimes it’s necessary. Many people don’t even have landlines anymore, so you’re calling their cell phone, they may be in a meeting or class or something else respectable and important. You leave them a voicemail, and when they call you back you find that they never even listened to your carefully crafted voicemail.
It’s quite easy to take this as an affront. Please, don’t. We truly don’t mean for it to make you feel unimportant or anything like that. Allow me to explain.

As a geek and part of this new generation that grew up with the internet, I’m always plugged in.

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Some people bemoan this as the latest sign that society is collapsing and that we’re all doomed to failure. That’s just inter-generational jousting. Really. People whined about the telegraph too, I promise. One major effect that this has had on people is the desire for instant transmission of information. We didn’t listen to the voicemail because we assumed that you wanted to talk to us. So we called you back. If you wanted something specific, you would have contacted us via text message, or some sort of instant messaging platform. At this point even those are getting outmoded. Many of us use email in this way, but again, even email feels slow for certain things. Don’t be afraid to text a question. You don’t have to compromise your grammatical leanings either. Many phones can handle the breakup and re-combination of longer text messages. The idea is that you can transfer your information to us as quickly as possible. Then we can respond in kind, often you don’t have to wait that way.

Voicemail sucks. In it’s original form, as a replacement for the answering machine it was a great idea. At this point though, so many people are always available that it doesn’t make sense to leave messages in a format that feels so arcane. It takes much more time to listen to a voicemail and get the point than it does to read 140 characters. We’re just trying to be efficient.
Don’t worry, be happy. Everything is going to be all right. We can survive this together!

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If you have no freaking clue why I put in all these pictures of cats, click here.

Maybe in awhile we’ll do a series on memes, what they are and some popular (if outdated) ones.

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