There's more than one definition of voice-mail. The one I'm referring to in this blog is the answering-machine on mobile phones or fixed-line phones.
The answering-machine often says something like:
- You've reached the voice-mail of NN.
- Unfortunately I can't take your call at the moment,
- but please leave a message after the beep.
It is now up to the caller to say who he is and something about why he called and whether or not he wants to be called back and the number he wants to be called on.
Quite often I fail to include all of the above. If I remember to tell who I am, I will usually forget to tell the number I can be reached on, or something else. Why is it difficult to record a proper message? The reason is that the answering machine catches me off-guard. I'm surprised, perplexed. I noticed the call was answered and I may even have started talking. Instead I hear the person talking to me in a sterile manner and I understand what's happened. I try to gather my thoughts and prepare myself for making a proper statement about who I am and something about why I'm calling and whether or not I want to be called back and the number I want to be called on. I end up saying something rather useless. Also the wind may be blowing into the microphone, someone might be asking me "what's he saying", and so on. The message is unintelligible or incomplete.
After the call I send an SMS.
And now comes my point. Answering machines are still useful for fixed-line phones that can neither receive nor send SMS nor show a missed call. For mobile phones I'd say this service is no longer needed. It feels out-dated. It's time to consider if it still belongs on the menu.
There's another form of voice message, which is better. It works like this: I prepare a message, then I record it, then it is sent as an MMS. It's likely to contain what I planned (if I'm not sure I can listen to it before I send it and re-record); the quality is likely to be Ok, because I found a peaceful place where I can record. Not all phones have it unfortunately.