Covid has made 'voice notes' the perfect way to stay connected | Magdalene Abraha

During these alienating times, verbal messages helped us to communicate quickly while maintaining intimacy and friendship

As the pandemic transformed the world in 2020, we leaned further into our reliance on technology, which continued to alter and tweak how we engage with each other. There were obvious winners; the Zoom app thrived; another app called Houseparty was the biggest thing for all of two weeks before it was never heard of again. Amid all these crazes, however, a quietly unassuming communication tool also flourished – the small but mighty “voice note”.

First introduced by WhatsApp in 2013, and later adopted by iMessage, Facebook and Instagram, the voice note – a short recorded message – became an instant success among millennials. Initially its rise was spoken of as a passing fad, but time has shown it has in fact become a major communicative asset. Seen by many as the perfect medium between phone calls, texts and unwanted voicemails, the voice note fits seamlessly into the modern world in a way that its cousins the phone call and voicemail do not. At some point in the past five years, “let me voice note you” has become one of my most-used phrases, as I try to explain something in detail and depth.

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