Is it Ever OK to Leave Voicemail Anymore?


The ubiquity of voicemail made sense when our phones lived in the kitchen, not our pockets—before SMS and twitter and the dozens of other ways we now stay perma-connected. So when does it make sense to use voicemail?

When you want to stand out…
“People receive more than 150 emails a day and yours could be lost in the masses.”
—Pamela Eyring

President and Director

The Protocol School of Washington

…and aren’t afraid of getting ignored simply because voicemails may be annoying for techies
“I’d rather get almost any other type of message than voicemail — email, text, telegram, telex, cuneiform tablet. At least you can skim those.”
—AJ Jacobs

Editor at Large,

When you want to be intimate with someone
“It’s so much nicer to hear a voice than simply read an email. Like when my grandma calls on my birthday and sings the entire Happy Birthday song. These days, I’d say voicemails are the new handwritten letters.”
—Lisa Butterworth


When dropping heavy news
Reader @CriminalJustis points out voicemail’s personal touch. Kinda wish he had called…

When you have many questions to ask…
“A good thing about voice mail is that, when you place a phone call, there’s at least a slight possibility another person might actually answer. That way, you might get to hear another person’s voice, ask all your questions at once, and then get on with your life. You also might hear someone speaking in complete sentences, which never hurt anybody. ”

…or when you’re dealing with people who aren’t tech-savvy
“There actually are people out there who still don’t tweet, text, Facebook, or even e-mail. That fact doesn’t make them Neanderthals, and it doesn’t mean they should be cut off from contact with all humanity.”
—John Bridges

Author of
How to Be a Gentleman: A Timely Guide to Timeless Manners

Original illustration by Gizmodo guest Artist Robert Grossman. You can check out more of his stuff over at his website.

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