No More Voicemails, Please

It's always amusing when I find myself unknowingly in the forefront of a trend. Voicemails, for instance. Well, my growing dislike of them.

In retrospect, I blame my kids. They prefer that I communicate with them via text for basic information exchange:
  • What time will you be home? 
  • Please unload the dishwasher
  • I'm stopping at the store. Do we need milk? 
And after several years of this, I've come to appreciate the brevity of direct communication (texting or instant messaging) with family, friends and colleagues:
  • Running late; on my way
  • Call me when you have time to chat
  • Read this article when you have a minute
Thanks to caller ID, there's (usually) no question that you've called me. And when I have a few minutes I'll call you back. What I won't do is listen to your voicemail, unless I absolutely must.

Nick Bilton, technology writer for the New York Times, drew a firm (and somewhat cranky) line in the sand last Sunday with his article, Disruptions: Digital Era Redefining Etiquette. While I didn't agree with all of his pet peeves, I did identify with this one:

Then there is voice mail, another impolite way of trying to connect with someone. Think of how long it takes to access your voice mail and listen to one of those long-winded messages. “Hi, this is so-and-so….” In text messages, you don’t have to declare who you are, or even say hello.

Rebecca Greenfield from the Atlantic Wire noted the fallout Mr. Bilton received, and took her own dive into the fray with her article,  A Guide to Advanced Digital Etiquette. Her opinion on voicemail?

It's totally okay to ignore all voicemails — except for ones from parents...

It's nice to know that I'm not alone...


3/13/13 Update. Here's a Gawker post with another viewpoint on Nick Bilton's article. The comments about voicemails left by now-deceased relatives are sweet and poignant. Check them out.