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  • Writer's pictureTravis Bogard

Voice messaging is on the rise

Updated: Dec 9, 2021

Over half the global population is now on the Internet and it has never been easier to reach a diverse range of people, perspectives, and places instantaneously with a tap of a screen. Yet, while we have gained the freedom to roam with access to more information and contacts than ever, we as humans have also become more disconnected than ever before. This feeling of loneliness and isolation was frequently written about well before the start of Covid.

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Social media is often cited as a major contributor to this, but I believe there is another factor that may also be a huge contributor to this lack of human connections. While the Internet has given us new communication tools, it has also changed the format of how we communicate. Our communication shifted from being mostly using voice in person or on the phone to being in text format. As explained here, this is a problem when it comes to relating at a human level, where empathy, nuance, sentiment, sincerity, and a whole range of human emotions plays a role in forming and maintaining human relationships.

An Inc. article from 2018 also cites how screen time negatively affects people’s ability to read social cues. However, it compares the digital format with the offline medium of face-to-face. Yet, the voice format without seeing the face packs a range of emotions that inform social cues.

Voice memos and audio clips were the way people were fulfilling that much needed human connection--- to hear someone’s voice.

Even without public discourse discussing the problem of relying too much on text formats, when Covid-19 hit and quarantine requirements cut off many people’s last outlet for rich human communication, people started to viscerally recognize the problem and seek audio solutions for communication. We saw a range of articles, talking about how voice memos and audio clips were the way people were fulfilling that much needed human connection--- to hear someone’s voice.

“Your friend with three kids might not have time to talk, but she’ll love to hear your voice telling her she’s doing a great job juggling both her work and her kids’ schooling.”

Jaime summarized the opportunity well to leverage the flexibility of digital communication with the power of voice in her article “Move Over, Zoom—Voice Memos Are the Real Way to Stay in Touch”. This sentiment was repeated in countless other articles capturing a similar theme.

In truth, the recognition of the trend to adopt asynchronous voice messages started in 2016, where it was reported that voice memos in some places like Buenos Aires actually surpassed text messages in volume, and like with so many other things, Covid-19 just accelerated it.

At the same time, we saw synchronous audio connections also take off with the growth of Clubhouse and introduction of Twitter Spaces, Spotify Greenroom, etc. Discord also saw big growth: “In Spain and France, the daily number of people talking on Discord has more than doubled since the beginning of 2020; in Italy, it’s more than tripled. In the US, we are seeing a 50 percent growth in daily voice users, with the highest growth in states like California, New Jersey, New York, and Washington.”

These stories and every graph around the world is showing that voice communication is back and on the rise. I’m hopeful that this move to bring voice back to our conversations is more than just a new tool for communication, but instead becomes a catalyst and enabler for creating deeper and more meaningful connections between humans. The impact on individuals, communities, co-workers, organizations, and collaboration in general will be magical.

Carbon Voice is on a mission to help bring the best of both worlds, where we combine the super power of voice as a communication format with the time-shifting flexibility that has made text formats so prevalent. We’ve seen that as we bring voice back to our conversations, we get clearer communication and human connection. We look forward to hearing your experiences.

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