‘Meh’ response to new voicemail feature on Linkedin.com

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Linkedin.com has launched a voicemail feature on its mobile app, drawing mixed reactions from the tech community.

“LinkedIn has been trying to make its business networking platform more like Facebook of late, with features like presence, and Google-like smart replies,”ZDNet.com reports. “Now, it's introducing voice messages just like Facebook and Facebook-owned WhatsApp.”

ZDNet.com predicts that the LinkedIn voice messages feature, introduced on July 26, could become a nuisance, particularly “for those who already get bombarded with written messages from strangers promoting products and services on LinkedIn Messages.”

Senior product manager Zack Hendlin explains the rollout in in a July 26 Linkedin.com blog.

“Have you ever typed out a long message and thought about how much faster and easier it would be to say it out loud?” Hendlin asks. “To give you more ways to have conversations, we’ve now added the ability to record and send voice messages up to one minute in LinkedIn Messaging.”

Hendlin sees the feature as a way to “easily message on-the-go,” when a person doesn’t have time to stop and type; as a means to create convenience for the recipient, since “they can listen and respond when they have a free moment”; and as a way to “better express yourself,” avoiding the misunderstandings that come with written communications.

LinkedIn voice messages can be up to a minute long. To use the feature you tap the microphone icon in the mobile messaging keyboard, then tap and hold on the microphone in the circle to record your voice message. To send, you just release your finger. If you want to cancel before sending, slide your finger away from the microphone icon while holding it down.

Many tech blogs offer a lukewarm response to LinkedIn voice messages. Some consider it unnecessary or clutter on the job-hunting site.

Karissa Bell at Mashable.com writes, “On paper, the feature makes some sense. Voice messaging is a standard feature on most modern messaging apps, and it's incredibly popular in many countries outside the United States… Sure, recording voice messages may be faster than actually typing them, but listening to a voicemail is definitely not faster than skimming a paragraph or two. What's more convenient for you, the sender, is more time consuming for the recipient.”

A blog at Engadget.com echoes these concerns.

“Judging from how often many of us use visual voicemail features so we don't actually have to listen to messages, it's pretty baffling as to why LinkedIn would think this was a good idea. Voice messages can also feel more intrusive than email, which is an important consideration on a professional social network.”Linkedin.com began widespread roll-out of voicemail on iOS and Android devices in August.