The Death of Voicemail

I am an usually early adopter, which should come as no surprise to anyone who knows me.  I may not be the first on my block to adopt a new technology, but I will be the second or third.  I have a frugal streak which keeps me out of version 1 of anything, because version 2 is the one where they fix all the bugs.  The frugal streak has also kept me away from anything Apple.  My son gave me an iPod for Christmas.  If it hadn’t been a gift, I would be carrying a much less expensive MP3 player.

So, back in the 80’s, I was an early adopter of voicemail, and then pagers, and then alphanumerical pagers, which provided an early form of one way text messaging.  The pager accounts usually came with an associated voicemail service, which gave people a chance to leave me a message I could listen to, and then respond appropriately.  I remember one especially nifty transaction of about six back and forth voicemail messages that ended with the closing of an important piece of business, all without every talking directly to the client. 

But over the last several years, maybe as many as ten years, I have come to see my voice messaging service as more of a burden than a benefit.  Lately I have taken to telling people if they are hoping for a quick, response, to send an email rather than leave a voice mail message.

Today I read in Michael Masnick’s column in TechDirt, that I am not alone.  The New York Times article he is quoting says that many voice messages spend as long as three days unheard and unanswered.

Yesterday, I got my first BlackBerry.  Ok, so not an early adopter here, but I was reluctant to have another computer-like device to keep up in additional to my laptop, which as far as I am concerned, is the pinnacle of modern technology.  The point is: now that I can get email pushed to my phone, the likelihood that I will listen to your voice message has dropped like a rock to under 10%.  I will respond, of course, but just by relying on caller ID to return the call.  I most likely will not have heard the message.  So save yourself some time, and keep it short.  Or better yet, send me a text message or email.

And what other forms of technology are nearly dead?  I already mentioned numerical display and alphanumeric pagers.  Fax machines appear to be on the way out as well, their grainy, slow, noisy and crooked pages replaced by digitally perfect Word, Excel, and PDF email attachments.  In talking with my clients, it seems the keep a fax on hand for the couple of clients they have who refused to get hooked up to the Internet, or a still unable to send an email with a file attachment, but this piece of equipment rarely gets used.  How long before it is gone forever?  Personally, I have been using a fax to e-mail service provided by MaxEmail for over ten years.

The next item on the way out may be the wireline home phone service.  I just switched to T-Mobile, and for $10 a month and the cost of a receiver device, I can convert my Qwest hone line, which is $30 a month, to another cell number on my account.  As I understand it, I simply hook the device to my in-home telephone circuitry, plug it in, and all my voice calls now will come over the air instead of on a wire.  Last week I read an article that was talking about this phenomenon, an how it was having a unfortunate downward impact on the stock price of the major telephone companies.

So you may want to consider some replacements to the communications technologies you are using.  Are you keeping up with the pace of change.  Or were you hoping to send me a fax?


About the Author:

I am a cybersecurity and IT instructor, cybersecurity analyst, pen-tester, trainer, and speaker. I am an owner of the WyzCo Group Inc. In addition to consulting on security products and services, I also conduct security audits, compliance audits, vulnerability assessments and penetration tests. I also teach Cybersecurity Awareness Training classes. I work as an information technology and cybersecurity instructor for several training and certification organizations. I have worked in corporate, military, government, and workforce development training environments I am a frequent speaker at professional conferences such as the Minnesota Bloggers Conference, Secure360 Security Conference in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, the (ISC)2 World Congress 2016, and the ISSA International Conference 2017, and many local community organizations, including Chambers of Commerce, SCORE, and several school districts. I have been blogging on cybersecurity since 2006 at

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