The curse of the Blackberry

I don’t have a Blackberry.

I won’t have a Blackberry.

From what I have seen, it is mostly used by people when they should not be using it. It is technology being used because it can be, not because it should be.

The prototype Blackberry in simpler times

The prototype Blackberry in simpler times

The idea of a mobile device that enables you to access your e-mail “on the go” is great for those who are often not in the office. So why do I see it being used so often in meetings? Why is that the Blackberry is afforded more courtesy than the human beings who are physically with us in meetings?

What does it say about us as professionals that we would openly read and write e-mails in a meeting instead of listening to the speaker?

Who invented this myth that we must be contactable 24/7?

Make no mistake – it is a myth. When you expect an employee to be contactable at the drop of an electronic hat, then you are effectively expecting all that employee’s activities to be interruptible 24/7.

Is that really any way to do business?

For me, the Blackberry has mutated. It is no longer a communications device. It is an interruptions device. It is a impoliteness implementer. It is a discourtesy disseminator.

Incidentally, a friend works for a company which insisted that all managers be issued with Blackberries so that they could deal with e-mails when out of the office. Considering that the office is actually on the customer site and that being out of the office meant being in a meeting with a customer, the directive made no sense whatsoever to me. Several months ago, my friend got tired of his Blackberry and stopped using it. Nobody noticed. Could that possibly be an indicator that it just was not needed in the first place?

Kind regards,

Declan Chellar

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