Voice Mail: Not Dead Yet? Here Are The Survey Results

According to my  readers, voice mail still has some life to it. Nearly 90% of the people who took the poll still listen to their messages at least some of the time.

telephone answering machine salespeople

Photo by Qilux/DPC

49.28% — Almost exactly half said that they “always listen to their voice mail messages.”

40.58% –  eported that they “sometimes listen to their voice mail but sometimes just look at caller ID and call back”.

10.14% – A mere tenth of the respondents said that they never listen to their messages.

A powerful defense of voice mail comes from Leslie Horn, a writer in her 20’s who wrote an essay for Gizmodo called You’re Wrong About Voicemail. Reflecting on the unexpected death of her father, she had this to say:

…I can’t think about voicemails without bringing the whole thing back to my dad once more. The dude had a goddamn calendar full of people he would call on their birthdays. From what I’ve learned in the past couple of months, it numbered in the hundreds. If he knew your birthday, he would call you on it and sing happy birthday. He had what I would call a church choir voice. Which is to say, not great, but he would belt it out nonetheless. If you picked up, he’d sing your ear off. If you screened, he’d sing it to your voicemail.

In the past three months, I’ve had untold numbers of people approach me and tell me they had messages from my dad on their phones singing them happy birthday. Happy birthday to Mark! Happy birthday to Suzanne! Happy birthday to Margaret! Happy birthday to family and friends and to people I don’t know from Adam! Shoot, I’d think every time, why didn’t I listen to my voicemails more? Until one day, I poked around in my deleted folder and found my happy birthday message from last year, saved. There it was! I hadn’t meant to save it, but there it was.

A personal note: my parents have sung to me over the phone on my birthday for years. Possibly decades. They’ve done it “live” if I answered the phone, on voice mail if not. I’ve always rolled my eyes good-naturedly as it happened. It never occurred to me to save the messages. Until now.

Question: Got a story of voice mail in your life? A drunk dial, perhaps. Or an “I didn’t realize it was recording” tale of woe. You know the story I mean. You can leave a comment by clicking here.



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