WhatsApp and can accelerate the speed of playback of voice memos . For a few weeks, the instant messaging application owned by Facebook has enabled this function for Android users , pointing to a technological trend that other platforms such as Netflix , YouTube and Spotify already apply .

The possibility of increasing the rhythm of the voice notes that we receive is simple, since the receiver can choose between three speeds: 1x, 1.5x and 2x. By clicking on the image of the user that appears next to the voice note, these speeds can be activated to listen to the audios more quickly.

This functionality, as we pointed out, is available for Android users, but not yet for iPhone . It is also enabled for WhatsApp Web , the version to access your chats from your computer screen. What it does not allow is to reduce the playback speed, something that does happen on audiovisual streaming platforms.

A booming trend
The ‘ speed-watching ‘, as the tendency is known to viewing or listening accelerated, is not new. In 2016, it began to be documented how users accelerated the rhythms of the series and movies they watched in order to save time. It could be done with YouTube, with players like VLC and with browser extensions. Spotify also allowed it for podcasts, something that was normalized. Last July Netflix joined the bandwagon.

However, many creators criticized and continue to criticize that tool, which, they point out, undermined the rhythm of their creation, eliminating dramatic pauses, silences and other elements that make up the work as a whole.

Cult of haste
The jump from WhatsApp to ‘speed-watching’ illustrates the cult of the rush of the digital age in which we live. The internet and the platform economy thrive on our attention . We are constantly overwhelmed by an avalanche of content from which we must choose.

This incessant torrential of messages has paradoxically meant that our attention span is limited to nine seconds. If our interest is not captured with that margin, we move on to something else. All that system accelerates the FOMO, a syndrome of social anxiety caused by the fear of not doing something rewarding that others are doing, the fear of wasting time.

“The acceleration of society means that the price of our time is rising, and that leads to digital platforms stealing it from us more and more”, explained the French journalist Bruno Patino , author of the essay ‘The civilization of fish memory ‘, in an interview with EL PERIÓDICO .

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