A recent study found that 2 in 3 Americans say they have fallen in love with voice notes, with Gen Z leading the way at a head-over-heels 84% and millennials not far behind at a very friendly 63%. The reason why seems to involve a kind of goldilocks effect: Text messages have allowed us to have more control over when we communicate (answering texts long after they’ve been received, for example), and research shows it’s a form of communication that is as impactful as a phone call. Many experts say, however, the average person can struggle to craft the right text to convey their feelings. Expressing emotions and supplying tone is just easier with your voice, and if you don’t want to call and leave a message, the voice note effectively allows you to accomplish that goal by sending it to your contact in a text or even the messaging function in a dating app.
Kelsey Wonderlin, a licensed therapist and a dating coach who offers special courses on how best to use digital communication in a relationship, tells us she’s seeing a clear uptick in voice notes in digital communication in general.
“People tend to like voice notes because it's faster to talk than it is to type,” says Kelsey, “and they offer the flexibility of responding at your convenience like a text. But they also offer some of the benefits of a phone call, like conveying tone and the intimacy and warmth of hearing someone's voice.”
She says it’s likely why you can put a voice note in your dating profile on some dating apps like Hinge now — which also might be one reason why T-Mobile has seen that app in particular grow in popularity with its customers over the past year, especially women: According to the company’s T-Ad’s team, Hinge has taken market share away from other popular dating apps, with 39% of its users being women compared to others that can be over 80% male. Also, T-Mobile customers that frequent dating apps are typically more social and outgoing and given their leisure activities, may rely on voice dictation and voice notes to effectively communicate with dating prospects.
Kelsey says in the early stages of dating her clients tend to text more, with voice notes the norm in friendships and relationships where a connection is already established. She says this is for good reason.
“A lot of people feel more nervous with an on the spot recording a voice note as opposed to typing a text,” she says. “This might mean collecting your thoughts first to avoid rambling and try to be expressive of the tone that you want to convey. Nobody likes to receive an eight-minute voice note. My best tips for creating voice notes are keep it short, one to two minutes works really well. In the dating world, I do not recommend cold voice noting someone if you've never spoken before, but it's okay to move to a voice note after a bit of texting back and forth. And my biggest tip always is to communicate first and ask their preferences!”
Happy Voice Note, we mean, Valentine’s Day!
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