Wait…what? Voice messages are back?

Yes, I realise I do not often fit in the demographic description of my generation and gender: I have always preferred everything digital, I am an introvert and a girl, some say a geek too, and, where possible, in the past 25 years, I have always tried to avoid voice calls in favour of any other digital channel.

So, last week I was in a meeting, at work, and got a Whatsapp notification from my nephew. She’s 21, a fashion blogger and university student, and incidentally also my kids’ baby sitter, so whenever I get a message from her during kids’time, it means it’s important and might also be an emergency. Finally I resolve, at the cost of looking very rude towards the person who is presenting in the meeting, to pick up the smartphone and check the message.

Imagine my reaction when _said_ message revealed itself to be a jaw-dropping, head-spinning, plain old voice message.

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Obviously I couldn’t open it during the meeting, whereas any text message would have just taken half a glance to see its content and react. Also, I clearly felt like I just didn’t understand why. Why a voice message? I thought these died back in 2004 when I disabled my mobile voice mail and stopped using it altogether. I thought I got rid of voice because this generation is the native digital and is online 24-7, and so …why voice?

I cleared my throat, slipped the phone in my pocket and excused myself out of the meeting, then went to the restroom to play the bloody message: “Hi Paola, nothing urgent, I thought I better left you a voice message since I have too many things to tell you about the upcoming week’s appointments……”.

This is why – the answer is: laziness. Or, if you want, convenience and speed of a voice message against a typed one. Still.

I frantically typed back to never ever ever again send me a voice message when at work, because it scared me to death and took five of the longest minutes of my life to get its content, while a typed message would have been much quicker and easier, especially for NBD stuff.

She didn’t understand, she said. It’s a message so implicitly it means it’s not urgent. Otherwise she would have called. Plus, she’s not quick at typing (despite the fact she’s probably faster than me) so she prefers voice messages and all of her friends do it, too.

WTF. This is one of those moments when you know you don’t like the lesson you are being taught, but you still need to learn it. So I started paying attention around me and found them: young people that seem talking otp but are really listening to offline messages. Kids recording funny messages and sending them through social media sites. It is out there and I didn’t even realise it until it hit me in the face.

The Voice Message is back – who would have thought?

A day in the life of a digital working mom

It’s a Wednesday evening and I am checking my clockwork household organisation. It all revolves around digital and every bit is essential to my sanity and free time with the family, come the weekend.

Tomorrow a organic fruit and veggie box will be delivered to my door. If I am not home the doorman will keep it in his office, together with any other online shopping package, until I return in the evening. Every Sunday evening I check online its content and add more groceries to the box to save time.

The baby sitter just left so I pay her parking lot with an app while she leaves the house and gets into her car.

I just received an email from the kids’ school with the next year’s calendar so I dutifully copy it to my private calendar then sync it with the office calendar so I don’t mess up at recitals like I did last year (when I booked an exam in London the day my son had the school recital and had to assist to the rehearsal with all the grandparents).

While I am on a phone call, I scan the pantry and fridge and list on my mobile app any missing items, then order them with one-click-next-hour-delivery.

I still have some time for shopping: the kids need new clothes for the season (not for fashion reasons but more because they simply outgrow the clothes and look like tiny franken-smurfs). So I order the new clothes – very easy since I always use the same brand, I just need to size up -sometimes adding something new for the hubby who (strangely enough) hates all forms of clothes shopping.

I also just received a promo discount from a fashion online shop so I immediately log in and move my wishlist items into the cart – I was waiting for the promo to get those items. I am now incidentally also happy as a clam.

My kids, born 2009 and 2012 have never seen in our house any of the following: CD, DVD, vinyls, cassettes, VHS, TV ads or local TV. When they want to watch cartoons, it’s either from an IP-TV or out of our NAS (so it’s checked and safe content, no ads or weird stuff). Also, we have a rule to only watch TV in English, which is not their native language. They initially hated it but now are sort of OK and fast learning English…in a few years they’ll secretly thank me while their therapist will have to address their troubled existences. While the kids watch TV I prepare dinner and at the same time browse Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and my RSS feed for news. The groups on Whatsapp are also typically active at this time of day, which makes me super-busy with _ basically_ pure online fun and some other daily organisation, as the _much dreaded_ school moms’ group is organising some activity with the kids.

Since tomorrow I have a business trip, I use the taxi app to book one that will fetch me in front of my door tomorrow morning at 6 am.

My daughter shows me a slip from her music teacher: new books need to be ordered, so I find those with next day delivery and add them to my cart. The alternative would have been to wait until I am back from my trip, and lose the big birthday party of her best friend on Saturday.

My wearable meanwhile is sending me notifications that I have reached my goal of daily steps and stairs. This does not happen really often, as on average I spend most of the workdays sitting at my desk, so I guess this is why the wearable is soooo excited about it…

The vet sends in the blood test results, via email, of our 14 years old cat who suffers from toothache: she will be fixed next Friday morning so I respond to the email and put the appointment in my calendar.

The children are screaming they want ice-cream after dinner, so to make them stop and get some silence I open the delivery app and order their favourite flavors, that will be on my doorstep in less than 30 mins. cool. literally. 🙂

With an app I switch off the music and turn on the TV. They’ll be able to manage using the remote browser. Then I open the door to my groceries delivery and set all products in the pantry/fridge. I always envision my kids as grown-ups and living on their own, on their first week alone suddenly calling me _in panic_ asking me why no groceries have arrived at their door yet. I’ll have to teach them the back-office part of this miracle one of these days. For now they are helping me put everything away and chatting with the delivery guy.

Our lives are so full of meetings, work, activities and stuff, that technology has become essential to having some free time at the end of the day and in weekends. Honestly I could not care less of spending an afternoon clothes shopping, unless it’s a special treat, in which case I try and add more errands to it (it’s the multi-task bug that infects new mothers and probably never goes away).

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Online shopping is convenient, safe, private and quick. I would not have it any other way, especially when the kids open the packages in a frenzy of excitement and fun, kind of like when we were kids at Christmas. Only, it’s just another ordinary digital day.