diamond geezer

 Tuesday, October 06, 2009

I've never had a BlackBerry.

Not the fruit, you understand, but the mobile handheld device. The thin shiny thing with the qwerty keyboard and the big display. The pocket communicator with a pulsing red light and push email capabilities. That sort of BlackBerry. I've never had one, nor used one, nor wanted one, nor been offered one. What's wrong with me?

If I were more important I'd have one. Everybody on the rung above me at work was given one last year, but I have to make do with ordinary 20th century PC-based email. They have a permanent freebie connection to the outside world, and I don't. They're always on, and I'm always off. They sit in meetings tapping away under the table, responding promptly to some urgent incoming missive, and I'm forced to sit there listening to some tedious bloke droning on because I don't have a sanctioned excuse to look away. For all I know they're not really responding to anything at all. Maybe they've just set up their Blackberry to vibrate at ten minute intervals so that they can look important. Maybe they're flicking through their calendar to arrange a liaison with that girl from accounts. Maybe they're checking the latest tennis score, or buying shares, or sharing a rude joke with the manager sitting on the opposite side of the table. Whatever, I sit in meetings all alone with my pen and paper, and they've got the entire world at their fingertips.

I still live in a sub-BlackBerry world. If I need to check my calendar while I'm out of the office, I need a paper-based diary that might not even be up-to-date. If an important email comes round last thing in the afternoon after I've gone home, the first I know is 15 hours later when I log onto my PC the following morning. If I need to trawl through an important series of decision-heavy emails with essential attachments, I can only do that whilst sat at a single desk in a single building in a single city. And if I'm on leave when my boss has an urgent problem, he can't contact me wherever I am in the country and expect a response within minutes. Oh hang on a second, maybe not having a BlackBerry is actually a very good thing.
"For those of you unconnected with business, the way Blackberryists interface with their phones may be unfamiliar. Typically he or she will have been given the handset by their employer. This is not an act of generosity. The device is a kind of leash, a digital ball and chain not far from the electronic tag that convicts on parole are forced to wear." (Stephen Fry) (who else?)
I often see BlackBerry owners lost in their own inner world, eyes glazed over, absorbed in unseen stimulation. I see seemingly independent people giving up control to a powerful external force that's surreptitiously taken over their waking hours. I see distracted folk repeatedly checking to see if their next hit has arrived, because that next hit is all important. I see twitching hands, and a faraway look, and the telltale under-eye signs of disrupted sleep. These users say they could quit any time, but I wonder how they'd cope if their lifeline were suddenly snatched away. Addictive? Surely not.

I have a life outside work. If it's eight o'clock in the evening, I'm off limits. If I'm at lunch when something needs doing, I'm not expected to drop everything to do it. I spend my journeys to and from work reading the paper, not clearing my inbox. I don't jump every time my BlackBerry pings only to discover that I have junk mail. If I'm working away from my desk I'm not tempted to distract myself from the task in hand when I should be concentrating on what actually needs doing now. I still work out of professionalism, not out of duty. OK, so I might be the last person in the office to know about tomorrow's meeting, or to read the funny email about what two colleagues got up to last night, but that's a small price to pay for relative freedom. Hell, who'd be 'important' at work? Give me BlackBerryLessNess any day.


<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>


click to return to the main page


...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
life viewed from london e3

email    twitter    G+

my flickr photostream