Saturday, January 28

There are already almost as many voice messages on WhatsApp as there are people in the world: 7,000 million a day

People are still writing a lot on their mobile, but they are talking more and more. Not by phone, be careful: what is becoming the norm is sending voice messages. This is confirmed by the latest data from WhatsApp, which is betting heavily on this feature and has just renewed its mobile application to promote this type of scenario. The idea? Record more messages, and write (a little) less.

7 billion voice messages per day. The number is difficult to understand, but there it is. Those responsible for WhatsApp confirmed that its 2,000 million users send that gigantic number of voice messages every day through the application, something that makes it clear how much we use this feature.

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Be careful, because that is still a fraction of how much, very much, we use text messages. 100,000 million a day were sent on WhatsApp more than two years ago. Now there are probably more.

Loved and hated in equal parts. Voice messages have clear advantages: they convey emotions better and save time for those who record them. In a way they “give power” to whoever records them. They also have disadvantages, because the sender can “roll up” and waste the receiver’s time. Also, you can’t search for something we said in a voicemail.

The controversy goes back a long way and when these messages began to gain popularity, there were those who asked that they please not send him voice messages until he was dead. The rules of digital etiquette were changing, and voicemails polarized and polarized: either you love them, or you hate them.

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WhatsApp wants us to send them. The messaging application has been offering this option for years, but it has been recently that it has made important changes that have improved the user experience. Many of us thank the company every day for including fast playback buttons (1.5x, 2x) for these messages, and yesterday WhatsApp presented new features for those who record them, who will now be able to control those recordings and pause them — to think a little what we say before we say it—at the time of sending them.

Calling on the phone is an ‘act of violence’. There are those who describe the traditional telephone call in this way: they interrupt the receiver and force a direct and immediate communication that does not give time to think. Voice messages offer the advantages of calls – saying what we want – but increased.

The interlocutor cannot interrupt us, and we give him time to think about it and respond as he wishes. That intimate format of the voice is preserved, but without the pressure of having to immediately jump into the conversation.

My mobile no longer rings. Those between 16 and 24 years old could consider themselves members of the so-called ‘mutated generation’, the one that believes that calls no longer matter. They have silenced their ringtones—just make them vibrate—and are responsible for how the download of those tones has been markedly reduced in just four years according to Sensor Tower.

Don’t roll up, Charles Boyer. But of course, the rise of this type of communication is causing many to use it in an almost dictatorial way: since nobody interrupts you, you can make out as much as you want. It is normal to receive messages of several minutes in length, and that means that in the end these messages can become something that interrupts like a call, but in a different way.

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The solution lies with J Balvin, the Colombian rapper who already gave practical advice for voice notes a few years ago. “Let’s tell friends that voice memos are 5 seconds… 10 max. If not, call. Easier. Call.”

Image | andrea picquadio

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