• 68°

Cell phone messaging found lacking

Ring … Ring … Ring …

An unfamiliar female voice responds, “The person you are tryingto reach is unavailable,” or a robotic voice echoes, “You havereached the voice mailbox for (person being called says theirname),” or there is always the simple beep.

If you have no clue what I am talking about, you are either veryfortunate to always get in touch with who you need or you are stillwaiting for cell towers to be installed close enough to your treehouse in the middle of nowhere for better reception. However, Iimagine even the mightiest magnolia would not be strong enough tokeep phone companies from crawling into your neck of the woods.

I am talking about the incredible amount of patience it takes toleave a personalized voice message on someone’s cell phone.

Now, I know what you are thinking. Why not send a text message?Well, there are those still figuring out how to unlock their cellphone, let alone check a text, and there are people not willing tospend any more money to remain in contact with the world duringevery waking second. Not to mention, this column and your readingexperience will go a lot smoother if you stop asking questions.

I am certain I am not alone in being annoyed by the lengthyprompt and commands one needs to sit through while waiting to tellthe recipient of a message that the phone call they missed was toinform them of a change of plans. In fact, having to grin and bearthe stock voicemail message makes me unwilling to leave a messageat all.

There are those times when you want to deliver a special messageand use different tones in your voice to denote specialmeaning.

However, I find it extremely difficult to sound anything butannoyed after being given instructions from robots telling me howto properly leave a voice message. I don’t think I have ever hearda beep and looked to the guy standing next to me and whispered,”What now?”

Once again, you are probably asking too many questions. You arenow thinking that the automated message gives numerous optionsother than just recording my voice. Well, if I ever want to pagesomeone, they probably have a device for that and if I ever wantedto send my number, I assume most devices have a way of knowing whocalled – not to mention my message that will let them know who theyhave just missed an important call from.

Where’s the application for changing the answering service onpeople’s cell phones? If I call my buddy to cry about thePhiladelphia Eagles early playoff exit and he’s unavailable to hearmy sob story, I want to be able to hit a button on my phone andhear something other than an automated message followed by myfriend’s name.

In today’s world we have cell phones that can record television,integrate with our computers and connect to just about any aspectof our life via social media. I do not think eliminating thenot-so-personal messages from cell phones is such a bad idea.

We have cell phones that can do so much, but seem ridiculouslylimited when it comes to customizing the voice greetings on ourphone. Of course, all phones are different, but it seems like thereare days when I really want to relay a message to someone and I getthe unwelcoming greeting of something from the Syfy channel.

Voicemail is certainly not new. According to Thehistoryof.net,the technology dates back to 1979 with Gordon Matthews forming thecompany VMX (Voice Message Express) as a basis for research anddevelopment. The site lists his annoyance with playing phone tagwith clients as a reason for creating voicemail. If one man’s trashis another man’s treasure, I guess one man’s satisfied grievance isanother man’s irritation.

While voicemail is certainly a useful tool that allows us toleave convivial messages for friends or relay helpful messages toco-workers or journalists not in the office, the messaging systemcan leave a lot to be desired.

To avoid getting an automated message, I guess I could grab myphone, Facebook my friend to ensure availability and send an e-mailalert before calling to say, “I’ll call you back, I’m busy.”

Chad Lederman is a staff writer for The DAILY LEADER. He maybe reached at clederman@dailyleader.com.