Boonsri DickinsonAssociate Editor of BYTE
Texts, Chat Slowly Killing Voicemail?
According to USA Today, people aren't leaving as many voice mails as they used to. USA Today used data from Vonage, an Internet phone company, and found that the number of voice mails is down 8% in July from a year ago.
The article draws the conclusion that texting and chat apps are replacing voice mails and that voice mail soon will be dead. I can't help but agree.
If I want to leave a message, I just text it. Chances are you probably do the same.
Just look at the top apps in the social networking category in Apple's iTunes store: WhatsApp Messenger, TextPlus, Tinychat, the Facebook chat app, Kik messenger, Skype, Tango Video Calls, and Voxer.
Has America become too impatient to leave and listen to voice mails? I think so. First you have to listen to the person's voice mail, then leave yours. To receive your message, the person has to call his voice mail and listen to your message. That's a lot of steps. Why do all of that when you can send a direct message via text? Why listen to a message when you can have it transcribed for you?
The new chat apps are spreading like wildfire. Take companies like Voxer (see below), which uses apps to communicate in real time. Voxer basically turns your phone into a walkie talkie.
And Whatsapp is growing like crazy too, and continues to top the charts of the paid apps. The cross-platform messaging service allows people to message each other without the cost of traditional SMS. Alternatives, of course, are Apple's iMessage and RIM's BlackBerry Messenger service, but Whatsapp works on iOS, Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, and Symbian.
Boonsri Dickinson is the Associate Editor of BYTE