Quick Audio Messaging is the New Texting (I Hope)

Have you been getting sick of texting?  Do you feel like you get too many texts in a day and that it's a pain to respond to them all?  We message in so many other way these days through Facebook, Twitter, and Google on top whatever messages we may get directly from friends on our phones.   I feel like since we are so connected these days we are constantly messaging and at least for me it feels like an overload at times, and it is making commutation suck.  Here's why I'm sick of texting.  

  • It's impersonal and the actual message is often lost or misinterpreted.  Even with emoticons, it is pretty emotionless.

  • You should never do it when you are driving (as much as you really want to)

  • Your phone company makes way too much much off of them (although this has changed a little with things like iMessage, Kik and other messaging services) but either way, your wireless carrier charges way more than they should for texting. 

Luckily it seems like audio messaging is starting to take off.  It is much easier than texting and solves the issues I have above.  I've been trying to get people to use audio messaging for a while (you could do it early on with most smartphones but people just had no idea).  But now there are dedicated apps that do it on all platforms and recently Facebook launched the service to the US & Canada.  Here's a quick overview of the ones I consider the main three options, all of which work on multiple platforms over wifi or cell connections:

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1. Voxer

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A friend of mine told me about Voxer a while back.  I have it a quick try and didn't really look at it again for a while.  It is always tough to get your friends to start using something new but I've seen this one catch on as of late.  Voxer if free on all platforms, is very straightforward to use, and reminds me of the old Nextel walkie talk functionality we don't see too much of anymore.  It's very easy to set up, find friends and start sending audio messages.  It stores your previous "Voxes" so you can look and play them back, and you can even audio message in groups.  It works great

2.  Facebook App Audio Messaging

Most people would prefer something they know rather than having to download an app like Voxer to get set up and start using right away.  Most people know Facebook and use it daily so I can really see this one taking off soon.  Facebook started slow and this functionality only works in the US and Canada right now.  I'm sure if people knew it was there they would use it more.  The couple things that I'm not really liking are that it takes too many steps to to send an audio message and that Facebook would store all of your messages on their servers, although if you have a problem with this you should stop using Gmail, Whatsapp, Voxer, iMessage, and just about every other messaging service out there.  Here's how you do it and keep in mind that this is only working in the US and Canada right now and coming to more countries soon.  

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  1. Tap the messaging tab and choose someone you want to message
  2. Tap the plus sign and then tap audio message
  3. Press and hold the record button while speaking.  Release.
  4. Done!

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3. Use Your Phones Built-In Audio Recorder

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I was doing this since I had an iPhone 3G.  I got a few friends to do it but not for any extended period of time.  I'm sure there are one (or many) equivalents on Android but I'm not familiar with any.  I like it because it is simple, but its still a few more steps than I'd like which is why I prefer Voxer.  This will work on all smartphones and some older feature phones as well.  On iPhone, all you really need to do is find the Voice Memos app, which comes built in:

  1. Hit the big record button to record your message then tap the menu button opposite the record button to view it.
  2. Tap Share
  3. Add there person (or people) you want to message.  
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So there we have it , a few ways out of many that you can send audio messages today. I think this type of messaging will take off because it is more personal, is easier than typing out a humungous text message to tell someone something, and in the long run it is cheaper than true texting.  I think in the next year or two we'll see a lot more of this and video calling, especially now that we have super fast 4G LTE available which makes sending these even faster when on the go.  How much do you want to bet this will be built into Apple, Android, and other smartphones in the near future?