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In defense of voice messages

In defense of voice messages

In the past few months of Peak TV, voice messaging has emerged as one of my favorite ways to talk about what I'm watching. I'll finish this week's episode of Endor, mute the show's credits, and immediately begin recording a voice message of my thoughts to send to a friend.

The main reason for using voice messages (or voice notes, depending on where in the world you are) is their asynchronousness - we don't need both to be free at the same time to communicate. Sometimes, he manages to watch episodes hours or even days before me and has already sent a message for me to listen, while other times, I am the first to share my thoughts. But every week, the format is the same. The recording begins with a spoiler warning, and then we share what we like, what we dislike, and where we think the show is going in the future.

Yes, the messages are inane. Yes, they are full of half-hearted ideas and tangents. And yes, we're definitely using them because we can't be bothered to type everything we want to share. But that's it. Each recording features an unfiltered first impression of an hour of TV, where you can hear how someone feels about an episode in real time. They provide a lot of the urgency and intimacy of a phone call without being available at the same time.

I am not alone in my love of voice messages. WhatsApp, the world's most popular messaging app, reported earlier this year that its users send 7 billion (with B) voice notes every day. Many people are sharing his hot Andor Tech.

And yet, almost as popular as voice messages are articles about how awesome they are. In 2018, TNW called them "the most toxic piece of audio that ever occupied a megabyte on my phone," and a year later, HuffPost said they were simply "awful." A writer for The Guardian recently shared an embarrassing story about trying to flirt with a crush over voice messages, before wondering if it's "self-indulgent" that "people talk to you for a long time". We do". I like to listen while doing - really, at any length - without interruption."

But the more I rant about any "I hate voice messages," the more I'm led to believe that people's complaints aren't really about voice messages. Take this segment from a recent article in Metro, which called the voice message "rude, arrogant and a waste of everyone's time":
I had a coworker who would leave four- to five-minute voice notes that gave me all my ideas about the way the industry worked, what I needed to do, what he wanted to do, and why everyone else was wrong. Were. Used to express ideas.

He used to send me voice-notes on weekends and when I was on vacation, at least he kept me updated with what was going on in his mind.

work message? Action points included? Sent over the weekend and when you're on vacation? My friend, it's not a problem of bad voice messages. These are bad coworking problems.

There are good and bad ways to use any form of communication, a (often unwritten) etiquette that plays to a medium's strengths and protects against its weaknesses. There are work meetings that could be emails, emails that could be Slack messages, and Slack conversations that were probably important enough to get on a Zoom call.

Even once you choose a medium, there are still best practices. Specific instructions in work emails are often divided into bullet points rather than buried in a wall of text. Some WhatsApp messages work better as one long message; It's easier for others to read and respond when they break up.

I totally agree that there are some terrible voice message users out there, but nothing is unique to them. Burying three minutes of important information in a gambling recording is a recipe for forgetting that information. Discussing what your cat ate for breakfast was going to be boring, regardless of what you sent it. And if The Guardian thinks embarrassing yourself when talking to a crush is a problem for Voice Notes, I've had several text messages suggest otherwise.

In an effort to rehabilitate polite voice messages, here's a first look at some of the best practices:

Voice messages should not contain details about important dates, times or logistics that may need to be referred to later.

They should not be used to send information that is time-critical. It's a pain to have free time to listen to messages when you're busy. The advantage of voice messages is their asynchronousness - don't waste it.

Voice messages, by their very nature, tend to be more intimate than text messages and are not ideal for talking to strangers. The exception is when you're flirting with a crush, in which case intimacy is kind of a thing.

Consider listening to him back before sending a voice message. This one might be more controversial, given how many people hate the sound of their own voice, but I think it helps with this next point.

Don't be bored Just because you can communicate an idea over the course of a five-minute message, doesn't mean you should. Personally, I think two to three minutes is a sweet spot, but your mileage may vary.

Address these shortcomings, and voice messages are as rich a communication medium as any other. At their best, they provide the length of a written letter mixed with the intimacy of a phone call and the urgency of an instant message. I love voice messages. I love the familiarity of hearing someone's voice, the precision with which you can show the feelings behind your words without thinking too much about punctuation. But above all, I like their spontaneity. After all, communicating with friends and family is always better than not communicating.

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