mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Sorry, I didn't get a chance to check my voicemail...

The NYT has has an interesting article on the increasing unpopularity of voice mail. I admit I fall into the category of people who frequently don't bother checking their voice mail. I'm not too bad about checking my work land line, but I've had ones sit on my cell phone for weeks before I've noticed them.

But while the article give a lot of hypothesis of why people don't check their vm - email and text messages are faster and easier to respond to, voice mails are often long and pointless, young people are used to and demand instant communication - it doesn't go into the biggest reason I don't listen to voicemails - I usually already know what they say.

See, voicemail came about at the same time as another nifty invention - caller ID. And pretty much every cell phone has it. Luckily, my desk phone at work has it too. That means that I don't need to listen to voicemails, because I usually already know who they are from, and often why they are calling. Sometimes I may not answer a call because I'm busy, or because I need to finish something so I can give the person a better answer. Sometimes I know it's something I don't need to listen to - like when I get robo-calls from a company I signed up to do consumer testing with several years ago - right before I switched positions at work to working days, killing my ability to go do consumer testing during the day.

Obviously, part of the reason for the decline of voicemail is that cell phones are available all the time, so not being home is no reason to miss a phone call. But I suspect that caller ID is also a big factor - people aren't listening to voicemail because they already know they are from someone they don't want to talk to, or that they already know they have to call back.


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