In a word, yes. At least for me. I probably don’t get more than two or three voice mail messages a month. Usually, these are calls from sales people who are prospecting or automated voice mail messages (e.g., a message from Walgreen’s, letting me know that my prescription is ready).
In my experience, the problem with voice mail is two-fold: (1) it’s more difficult to retrieve a message as compared to the alternatives and (2) it’s more difficult to integrate into my workflow. I hate to listen to a rambling voice mail message. People can ramble via email, too, but email is easier to scan and determine what the sender wants.
Instead of voice mail, I find that people are resorting to one of four methods of communication:
- Regular email. This is the best option when you need to provide background or attachments, involve more than one other person in the conversation, or need to retain a record of the communication. But except for spam, I am finding that my email volume is actually decreasing.
- Instant Messaging. We are increasingly using this in the office. It is great for direct communication with one person, especially when all I need is an answer to a simple question. It is also less disruptive than calling the other person or walking into their office.
- Direct Messaging via Twitter. I use Twitter for nearly all of my one-to-one, direct communications. It is just so convenient. It allows me to use one application (i.e., TweetDeck) to manage all of my non-email communication. However, you have to be aware of the limitations. I have occasionally sent a public message that I intended to be private.
- Text Messages via Phone. I use this occasionally with family and friends, particularly if I need to communicate a message that is longer than the Twitter limitation of 140 characters. I also use it when I don’t want to risk accidently sending a public message with confidential or sensitive information.
Beyond all of this, one of the reasons I think voice mail is dead is that my kids and their friends are no longer using it. In fact, they are barely using email. If I want a response from them, I have to send it via a direct message on Twitter or a text message.