The End Of Technology

Mitch JoelPosted by

**How productive is voicemail for you?**
It happens all of the time. A new technology comes out and makes something so commonplace to our daily lives so completely antiquated. Back in 2007 (yes, close to eight years ago), I came out and [publicly declared voicemail bankruptcy](http://sixpixels.com/blog/archives/voice-mail-bankruptcy—the-gauntlet-has-been-thrown/). People thought I was crazy. It was a lifestyle choice driven by my personal attempts to be more productive, and trying to evade the situation of disappointing others or losing potential business leads because of my lack of response to these messages. I was finding myself on the road – more and more – with a non-desire to run through the gauntlet of phone choices and codes to access voicemail when out of the office (a new level of laziness, I would agree). Sending me an email, a text message… or even calling me on my mobile seemed a million times more efficient… and obvious, then hoping I remember to check a messaging system that sits tethered to a physical phone in one of the many places that I do business. On top of that, my business line had decomposed into a crypt of poorly scripted telemarketing calls, attempting to pitch me on a myriad of services that – had the sales rep spent two seconds looking on our website to understand us – were completely useless. On top of that, when these messages were not returned, the bombardment would continue with a vengeance. Even when I was in the office, I was leery to answer my business line for fear of being stuck on a twenty-minute call for some kind of enterprise solution that both wasn’t needed, and one that I was not the decision maker on.
**Am I alone?**
When I made this decision, I re-recorded my outgoing message to let people know that this line would not be responded to in due process, and if anyone wanted to reach me that they could easily email me, or – if they knew me well enough – that they could reach me on my mobile. I think it worked. I don’t know. Many people could rightfully argue that this approach might turn some of the more traditional business people off, and that it may even affect people trying to do business with [Mirum](http://www.mirumagency.com “Mirum”), if they feel like I am not accessible. This baffled me. I was – in earnest – trying to make myself MORE accessible. MORE readily available. MORE speed in response. Business proper dogma won again. Still, I stuck to it and have not backed down. Since then, there are so many new ways to connect and find me instantly. There is messaging built into [Facebook](http://www.facebook.com/mitchjoel “Facebook”) and [Twitter](http://www.twitter.com/mitchjoel “Twitter”) and tons of other ways to tag me.
**We live in real-time.**
That’s what it felt like then. It feels like that even more today. [Bloomberg Business](http://www.bloomberg.com “Bloomberg Business”) recently published an article titled, [Coca-Cola Disconnects Voice Mail at Headquarters](http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2014-12-22/coca-cola-disconnects-voice-mail-at-headquarters). Some thought that this was an attempt to save money. It was not. From the article: *”Office voice mail at the world’s largest soft-drink maker was shut down ‘to simplify the way we work and increase productivity,’ according to an internal memo from Chief Information Officer [Ed Steinike](http://www.coca-colacompany.com/our-company/senior-functional-leadership-ed-steinike). The change went into effect this month, and a standard outgoing message now throws up an electronic stiff arm, telling callers to try later or use ‘an alternative method’ to contact the person.”*
**Moving Forward**
I never liked the usability or functionality of voicemail once email, texts messaging and other social-based messaging applications entered the fold. Voicemail felt… distant. This thing that we had to reach out to, instead of it being as readily available as, say, voicemail is on your smartphone. Some might dive deeper and think that this also speaks to our current shift in how we communicate (which, by the way, is shifting us away from talking to one another, because of how popular texting has become). Regardless, it’s an important moment in time for marketers to pay attention to. Voicemail going away (which I believe it is for non-mobile devices) illustrates the importance of paying attention to technological trends and what they mean. [Snapchat](http://www.snapchat.com “Snapchat”) isn’t just about teens sending one another pictures that disappear. It’s about our societies desire to send one another content (and communications) that don’t then sit in some kind of permanent data legacy). With that, big changes continue to be afoot. I say good riddance to voicemail on office phones… and bring on more Snapchat-like functionality!
**How about you?**