Sending voice messages instead of texting or calling is becoming the norm. This is confirmed by the latest WhatsApp data: the largest messaging service sends seven billion voice messages a day. According to the company, users can use them to “communicate with others faster, easier and also on a more personal level.” Voicemail doesn’t just have fans, though.
“In everyday life you can see that many people get upset when they receive voice messages. With one’s own child, the level of tolerance is perhaps even higher. But everything that goes beyond the closest family emotional sphere becomes very, very annoying for the vast majority at some point, ”says digital expert Gerald Lembke, German professor of Economics and Media Management dedicated to the study. of voice messages and their use.
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“Users say that they like to send voice messages, but they don’t like to listen to them. Why? Quickly recording something while doing something else, standing at the supermarket checkout or sitting in the car, is very easy, but listening to a voice message requires an action”, explains Lembke. The problem is that communication with voice messages is asynchronous, that is, it arrives late: someone records them and sends them, another listens to them later.
Please don’t send me any more audio messages!
“Voicemail is a one-way communication,” says Lembke. From a theoretical point of view, she adds, it is even a simplification: “One is independent of the receiver’s reaction and that facilitates communication, since it is one-way and not designed for interaction”.
If someone is going to be temporarily unavailable and the matter is not urgent, this type of communication “makes a lot of sense,” explains Lembke, noting that, if it involves making arrangements with many people, the synchronous telephone conversation is more effective and productive.
“If you want to communicate a date, for example, you don’t need to embed it in a voice message lasting several minutes, but it’s better to send it as a text, because then the recipient can see it immediately and easily find it later,” says Dorothea Adler, member of the Chair of Psychology of the Media of the University of the German city of Würzburg and specialized, among others, in voice messages.
Send WhatsApp audios, but don’t go off the rails
Some people digress a bit when recording: “The language spoken it is less planable than the written. You can think about what you want to say in advance, but there will probably still be a discrepancy between what you planned and what you said,” explains Adler.
“While with text you can reread what has been written and make changes so that it better suits the recipient’s message, with spoken language one is more likely to go off on a limb. That’s probably what creates some length. Some people like someone to open up and expose their thoughts and feelings. Although a text message can also be personal, it turns out to be more concentrated and focused.”
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Some things are already transmitted by background noises. “For example, I hear when a friend is at a party and the music plays. This allows me to participate much better and perceive authentic emotions through language and thus also feel closer to the person”, cites Adler as an example.
“Not only does the person speak more, but they can also speak a little faster and with more melody when they are happy. This means that I can not only know how this one feels through the spoken word, but also through voice and tone”.
Adler explains that laughing, talking faster, whispering, pausing to think can get a message across. However, he notes, it is important that both parties agree to the chosen channel. “
You can say no to WhatsApp voice messages
It’s also a matter of sensitivity: if I send someone a voice message and the person I’m talking to constantly responds with text, I’d probably realize at some point that they wanted to keep communicating that way and I’d either ask them or stop sending messages of voice,” explains Adler. Conversely, she adds, the recipient can also say that he prefers to talk on the phone or receive written messages.
Lembke also advises making a clear decision: “Yes, I want to communicate like this, or no, I prefer not to. If I say I don’t want voicemails, then I can discuss it over the phone with those who send me some. However, many people find it difficult to make that decision.
Por Ann-Kristin Wenzel (dpa)