Mike Arrington said “voicemail is dead”, and I used to agree. I hated voicemail forever but it was a reality we had to live with. (I’ve made my suggestions in the past on how to leave good voicemail).
The thing that changed that all for me was voice-to-text voicemail conversion. I couldn't live without SpinVox - it's invaluable for all of the reasons that Paul lays out. (E.g., Corey uses PhoneTag, formerly Simulscribe). Best yet, it's helped me achieve a single inbox with my voicemail and e-mails.
Paul highlights an important piece at play here - for most of us, it's a lot faster to consume voicemail after being converted to text. It allows me to process messages quicker, it ties into my existing Outlook workflow, and it allows me to read messages when I couldn’t otherwise (e.g., in a meeting, a loud bar, etc). At the same time, it's often easier and quicker to generate that message. If you’re driving, don’t have a full QWERTY keyboard on your device, or whatever, it could very be impossible or much more time consuming to type out a message.
Despite his attention-catching title, Mike acknowledges this reality in his article.
More mobile carriers are offering text conversion for a monthly or per-message fee. It’s my guess this will become more and more common. Voice is here to stay as a data input method, but listening to messages will certainly become an increasing luxury, to be reserved for loved ones or those messages that aren’t transcribed properly (or you need to hear it for tone or emotion).
In other words, voice is often more convenient for the person leaving the message, and text is often more convenient for the person receiving the message. Voice-to-text conversion services fill an important gap by letting both parties interact in the way that’s most convenient for them.
Voicemail is not going away, but having to listening to them is - and that's an important and subtle difference.