I love the Blackberry; I hate the Blackberry.
I love how the Blackberry makes it easy to get mobile e-mail; I hate how the Blackberry makes it impossible to escape my in-box.
I love how the Blackberry lets me “work” while away from the office; I hate how the Blackberry keeps me “working” while away from office.
I love how the Blackberry makes you available at any time; I hate how having a Blackberry makes people think you’re available at any time.
I love how the Blackberry fits into those nerdy belt holders; I hate it how the Blackberry is so easy to pull out of the holder to you can check your e-mail every few minutes.
As you can tell, I’m struggling to gain some Blackberry balance in my professional/personal life. Everyone jokes about the “Crackberry” but it’s sadly true. The Blackberry is an addiction. Once you get one, you become its bitch. It makes you check it incessantly; it makes you believe that an important e-mail could have arrived in your in-box, which makes it okay if you give it a quick peek during dinner or a party.
Without knowing it, I had become a Crackberry addict. I needed a Blackberry intervention but when you’re surrounded by other Blackberry users, who’s going to do it? Fortunately, my “salvation” came during a late-night, Corona-fueled conversation with another wireless addict. It suddenly dawned on me that the Crackberry was making me crazy. It controlled me as opposed to the other way around.
But what to do? How do you wean yourself off the Blackberry when you’re a hard-core user? In my case, I decided to go cold turkey – well, sort of cold turkey by only using the Blackberry as a phone after 6 p.m. during the week and all the time during the weekends. That said, I also realized that to discipline myself, I had to sometimes leave the Blackberry at home when I go out, especially when with the family.
While it’s still early days, my Blackberry Plan is working well. The urge to check for freshly-arrived e-mail is easing off. In fact, I’m even turning off the Blackberry without any guilt. Wish me luck!
Given my thoughts about the Blackberry have been brewing for weeks, it was an interesting coincidence to read Karen von Hahn’s column in today’s Globe & Mail about Blackberry users. She describes many of them as “phonies” because while they’re physically with you, they aren’t completely “spiritually” there because the Blackberry is a constant presence and distraction.
“For phonies, there really is no here, here,” she wrote. “Being in the here and now with the living, breathing person in front of them is as fascinating as watching a silent movie on a black and white TV. It might have taken you months to find a time to actually get together, but the moment you sit down in the bar or cafe or restaurant, they whip their phones out of their handbags so they won’t miss a call. No matter that they are (finally, actually) with you, it’s as if, without the comfort of the little ADD enablers, they might find themselves alone.”
By the way, I ran into a friend at a party last night who recently gave up his Blackberry after deciding he didn’t need it anymore. The world he used was “liberating”.
Update: Speaking of smartphones, images of the new Treo have been leaked. Not sure why anyone would be too excited about it but it’s the lead story on Techmeme on Sunday morning.