The New York Times asks, “Is voice mail obsolete?”

An article appeared in the April 1st edition of the New York Times about the (possibly?) inevitable disappearance of voice mail, as people, especially younger folks, turn to and prefer text-messaging and email.

What’s wrong with voice mail? Well, according to the article, IT TAKES TOO LONG TO CHECK.

But in an age of instant information gratification, the burden of having to hit the playback button — or worse, dial in to a mailbox and enter a pass code — and sit through “ums” and “ahs” can seem too much to bear.


“If you left a message, I have to dial in, dial in my code,” Ms. Cheong said. “Then I mess up and redial. Then once I hear the message, I need the phone number. I try to write it down, and then I have to rewind the message to hear it again,” she added, feigning exhaustion.

Hmm… I don’t know. Is this just another silly trend piece about the short-attention span of the youth of today and their addiction to cutting-edge technology? Or do you think voice mail will go the way of the VCR, into the dustbins of techno-history?


  1. Wendy says:

    It makes some sense to me. Just today, a computer-shy friend of mine responded to an email I had sent her by sending me back a long, rambling voice mail. Since the purpose of my email was to ask, “what is the name and phone number of the salon you use?” I would have much preferred a written response. I checked my voice mail on the move and couldn’t write down any of the info she gave me, so her response wasn’t all that helpful. I guess voice mail has lost some of its strength for conveying a ‘just the facts’ message…but I wouldn’t want to abandon the feature altogether. I remember when everyone in the business world had to have someone on hand at all times to answer their phone, and voice mail seemed radical and hyper-efficient. No longer.

  2. My voicemail couldn’t be much easier or more convenient – all messages are automatically emailed to me as .mp3 files so I can play them from wherever I am (even on my iPod if I’ve got a connection). Easy peasy.

  3. Diane B., EOC says:

    If texting was to replace voice mail, I would miss the power, the individuality, the influence, the compassion our voices convey when we leave a voice message.

    How often written messages are misunderstood or sound sharp when we mean them to be succinct. How much better it is to let our voices reflect our feelings … energy, enthusiasm, compassion, concern, joy, etc. … rather than to try to convey those feelings with exclamation points, happy faces and abbreviations.

    I think our voices are an important part of our personal brand and one of our greatest assets in communication … but perhaps I’m falling behind The Times.

  4. Mikhail says:

    How’d you do that, D’Arcy? Seems like something worth trying.

  5. Luke says:

    Here’s a tool for having your voicemail delivered:

  6. Our IT department offers “enabled voicemail” to all faculty, staff and grad students. It’s an opt-in service, I assume to prevent the mailservers from imploding under the weight of all of those .mp3 files :-)

  7. Luke says:

    Pwned by UCalgary, yet again.

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