On Facebook, I recently posted the following:
Inspiration of the moment: I hate voicemail. If I don’t have an opportunity to chat right away, a voicemail is every bit as inconvenient. So my idea is this: Record a message whose first five seconds are “please email or leave a text instead of voicemail” and whose remaining 25 seconds are an unlistenable cacophony of screeching, blaring noise. That would at least keep it down to machines and the ultra-dedicated.
This got a few Likes, so I decided to start working on something. Attached to this post is a tame first draft of the voicemail message. It doesn’t include the 25-second ear horror (which I’d like to make later to test any skills I may have as a cacophonist), but does have a creepy voice telling human listeners to leave a text or send an e-mail instead and to “please hang up”, plus error tones to confuse some machines and repetition to discourage humans from waiting for the actual record tone.
Use at your leisure (and, of course, your own risk) and do share stories of any good (or bad) results.
- “Tom”, a text-to-speech voice whose unsettlingness partly comes from its use in NOAA weather radio and some areas’ Emergency Alert System notices.↩
- Specifically, Special Information Tones (SIT) such as those used by TeleZapper that indicate to some kinds of auto-call machinery that the line has been disconnected.↩