When I see that I’ve got a voicemail, my heart sinks. I will put off listening to a voicemail in a way I would never, ever do with a text message or an email. Because listening to it is a chore in a way that reading a text never is. And that’s because most voicemails fall into a few specific categories:
The Novelty Act
OMG isn’t it crazy that a machine is really recording my voice?! Can you hear me? Oh wow. I don’t know what to say, but um, this is great. Maybe I should sing you a song?
This is me. I’m just trying to get hold of you. It’s Tuesday 10th at about, um, three o’clock. You’re not answering. I’m not sure why you’re not answering, but if you get this message then can you give me a ring back? I might be at home, but if not, you can try my mobile. This is all information you either already know, will have learnt from seeing the Missed Call notification on your phone or have immediately inferred, but I am quite old and I worry that technology doesn’t work as well as you keep saying it does.
Hi... I don’t have... much to say...but someone told me that...you have to speak extra slowly...[PAUSE] for clarity.
The Handbag Call
Hi! This is your mum’s handbag speaking! We have a great programme of inside-handbag noise for you today! It will continue until your phone automatically stops recording! Enjoy!
Who says creativity doesn’t happen in a vacuum? I rang you to ask if you’re going to the picnic tomorrow, but the silent non-judging electronic ear of your voicemail encourages me to raise new topics. Did you see Eastenders? Do you like spaghetti? I meant to tell you I saw Lucy yesterday and she said...
Hi Dave, this is Kate. I’m just organising the – oh, God, did I call you Dave? I’m Dave. I mean, obviously. Anyway, I’m just trying to organise the – oh God, this is so embarrassing. [CLICK]
The Short & Sweet
Hi. I’d like to talk to you today about this specific thing. I’m being clear and concise about why I’m phoning you. But it would still have been better in a text message.