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30 Days of Blog

Voice-notes are terrible, horrible, no-good part 2: Some Practical Reasons[30 days of Blog 24]

This post is part of my 30 blogs in 30 days series. More details here.

Yesterday, I illustrated why ‘hot’ voice-notes are not compatible with the ‘cold’ text messages, in light Marshall Macluhan’s media theories. You can read that here. Today I will show you some practical reasons you should not use voice-notes in text message conversations.

Synchronicity

Please don’t go! I just used this big word because it looks cools as a heading. Let me explain.

All inter-human communication can be rated on a scale from synchronous to asynchronous. Synchronous communication is where all participants can speak at the same time. Asynchronous communication is where only one speaker speaks at the same time. In-person conversation, phone calls, video conferences, etc. are examples of synchronous communication. Emails, text messages, class lectures, seminars, etc. are asynchronous.

You will notice that most of synchronous seem to be verbal in nature. That is not to say you can’t have verbal communication in an asynchronous manner; most military and law-enforcement still use half-duplex wireless radio technology to avoid cross-talk. However, unlike most voice-notes left by your aunty in the family WhatsApp group, these have strict protocols. The cadence of everyday communication in voice recordings is incompatible with the asynchronous nature of text messages. So we should avoid recording each other in text conversations.

Urgency

Around 15 years ago, when cell phone service started becoming affordable, phone calls were still expensive. Teenagers such as myself opted to use the relatively dirt-cheap SMS/text messaging to communicate. Having this method of communication also freed us from the biggest curse of phone calls; urgency.

Phone calls are urgent. Rotary phones made a loud ringing noise and that created an expectation that when someone calls, you will have to pick up. Text messages, on the other hand, were relaxed. You can read them whenever, and respond however you want. Voice-notes reintroduce the phone-call urgency into text messages. They break the flow of conversations, change its pace and overall introduce discord. By not using voice-notes, you preserve the harmony of your text conversations.

(Yes, I know, in the age read-receipts and typing notifications, the sense urgency can be just as bad or worse in text conversations. That is a discussion for some other day)

Just Call

You know you can just make a phone call! It would be less awkward than your voice note. Like seriously, just call. It would take less time than sending 8 voice-notes, each 30 second long. Most of those won’t even have any useful information. VoIP calls on all messaging apps are free, for the most part. What excuse do you have to send voice-notes?

Just call, man. It’s way easier.

Most of the things said in a voice notes can be typed up in the same time. Even if they can’t, reading the same message would take a lot less time than listening to it. You can add that to the list of reasons why voice-notes are impractical. There are about a hundred other reasons you shouldn’t use them. Why are you using them?

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