The Joy of Voice Messages

Once hated I now love them as my preferred communication channel

Mookie Spitz
3 min readFeb 2, 2024

Q.: What’s got the emotional warmth and close connection of a live conversation, with the convenience and unobtrusiveness of a text?

A.: Voice messages.

Seems like an ideal combination, yet for years I resisted them. Recording my own voice and then sending it to someone seemed awkward and absurd. But like most great ideas, what’s at first ridiculous might prove itself eminently useful and even transformative. Of course initial resistance is natural and powerful — otherwise we’d already be doing it regularly.

Embracing voice messages more or less coincided with my burgeoning love of podcasts. Everyone has an entry point to new technology, and what popped my podcast cherry was Freakonomics with economist Steven Levitt and NYT journalist Stephen J. Dubner, who MC’d their weekly episodes. From there Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History sealed the deal.

The beauty of asynchronous communication is convenience through multitasking. Think of how much time you spend doing things that preclude you from fully concentrating: cooking, commuting, exercising, what have you. At home I have my favorite podcasts streaming, and on the road I’m always have voices in my head, teaching me fascinating things.

Concurrent with the podcast revolution is audio books, another great way to enjoy your day. The seismic shift from print to digital text, digital text to streaming audio has been so expansive that more people are consuming more content than ever before, yet fewer people are reading fewer words. Not better or worse, just different — and wonderfully engaging and joyful.

Voice messages fit nicely into this evolving modal trajectory. I have a handful of friends with whom I leave and receive voice clips, several seconds to several minutes long, several times per day. Many of us have ongoing threads, like a disconnected yet extended conversation, in fits and starts, but wrapped around and immersed within our busy lives. Just great.

What I love the most is to sometimes listen to my own messages. As a kid I hated the sound of my own voice, and now I’ve grown to actually like it. Hearing myself speak, I objectify how I must be preceived by others. That helps me get rid of bad communication habits, and embrace new and better ones. Listening to myself also helps me process my emotions.

This reminds me of my childhood friend Howie, who FaceTime bombs at the most inconvenient, least expected times. In an age when people text for permission to call you at some predetermined time, Howie goes ahead and video calls, his bald head and grinning face in your face, just like that, boom! At first I was WTF. Then I realized the genius, and do the same.

Where we headed? Pundits caution that our smartphone addictions are our demise. Yesterday’s Congressional grilling of tech CEOs was a circus, but long overdue. Yes, social media is damaging, and as a society we need to figure this out. Meanwhile, I insist digital communications tech is net-positive, even and especially with AI tossed into the mix. I’m pollyanna.

So here’s to multimodal global asynchronous digital communication! Whether on Whatsapp, through Facebook Messenger, even over text threads, voice recordings document our lives in real time, provide an ongoing emotional catharsis, and help us connect better with our friends, family, and colleagues than ever before. Booyah to the voice — more please.



Mookie Spitz

Author and communications strategist. His latest book SUPER SANTA is available on Amazon, with a sci fi adventure set for Valentine's Day 2024.