Sunday, 24 May 2009

The Blackberry Warriors


I have bought myself a Blackberry recently.

It is a sleek, elegant model, quite unlike the earlier Blackberrys which were thick, square and rather boring. This one is slim, light and nicely contoured: the Katrina Kaif of Blackberrys, you could say!

Actually, it was peer pressure that drove me to this purchase. In the new company I have joined, all the directors sport one. Recently, on a week-long association with one of them, I was intimidated to find that he was constantly on his Blackberry, making and receiving calls, reading or composing e-mails, surfing the web and doing a host of other things that left me light-headed.

As all you techno-freaks out there know already, the biggest USP of the Blackberry is its “push” mail application. You can set up multiple mailboxes in your device for your official and personal mails and the e-mails will land in your Blackberry more or less simultaneously with their landing on your mail server. There is no waiting around—your net-enabled mobile doesn’t need to login periodically to check if you have received new messages. It is a wonderful feature, works very well, and can be an invaluable facility for a corporate user, as it frees him to a great extent from the tyranny of the laptop.

But I do have a quarrel to pick with the Blackberry warriors.

Some people call it “The Curse of the Red Flashing Light”. Every time a new e-mail arrives on your Blackberry, a red light starts to flash persistently and in so ominous a fashion, it’s impossible to ignore. Never mind most of the time the messages are mindless forwards from friends bored out of their wits, pathetic scams from exiled Nigerian monarchs who need your help to reclaim their inheritance, or Facebook alerts from distant acquaintances you would rather have nothing to do with, but very soon you find yourself constantly checking the device for that the red flashing light. In no time it starts controlling your life and it has become an obsession.

I have been having the device for over three weeks now and I know I am not obsessed with that flashing red light. Maybe I am not normal. Most of the Blackberry users I know stop a conversation in mid-sentence and reach for their devices the moment the red light starts flashing.

That brings me to another issue, which is the quality of replies that you compose on your Blackberry. Just like most people find an imperative urge to open and read a mail the moment it arrives in their device, they feel equally compelled to reply to that mail that very minute itself. Most of the time there is no reflection and analysis, no search for alternative solutions in case a problem has presented itself, no delay between thought and action. This often results in an impulsive response, not well thought out, leading, at least in my opinion, to sub-optimum results.

While researching for this post, I came across this nice article in The Telegraph, UK by their columnist Bryony Gordon. Please do read it. Meanwhile, you have to excuse me now. There is that red light flashing in my Blackberry...

Image Courtesy: htp://Observatori.ca

11 comments:

harini calamur said...

hi
i have been looking for a new phone. my current one -a nokia - is 3 years old, which in technology terms makes it a 100 year old phone.
my biz partner has been at me to get a blackberry. the one thing that prevents me is that sense of being connected on all media - all the time - with no escape :)
can't even tell people that i will get back to the office and read mail :)
but, congrats on the urge to pounce on the blinking red light and do something :)

Maddy said...

i tried to get a blackberry, but at that point of time it was incompatible with our office mail system. fortunately i got an iphone.. the push mail system is great, especially when u are on the move...but i do not have any red lights etc to worry about..as the office email system is not connected to my phone!!

Rada said...

@ Harini: To a creative person like you, I would strongly recommend the Apple iphone. Blackberry is strictly business and not much fun!

@ Maddy: I would have opted for the iphone but for two reasons: the lack of a proper texting function and the exorbitant cost of the device in India.

Cynic in Wonderland said...

there was an article in ..readers digest i think? about this obsession with being in touch constantly and how it makes you a slave. people apparently fall sick if they dont get mails. that would make me quite abnormal as well - of late i have been known to go for days ( gasp!) without checking mails and blogs. and also muchly congratulations on new job stint which seems to be top managerial blackberial ( burial? unfortunately too syntactically close no?) post.

agent green glass said...

ha ha. well said. i really like the part about the compulsion to reply then and there. no thinking, no reflection...just reflex action.
got me thinking...isn't that what we've become. trained to just react. quick, fast...no time to think, to inhale, to take in, to chew, to swallow...just spit it out.
enjoyed your blog. will be back.

Rada said...

@ Agent Green Glass:- What a wonderful name for a blog! Thank you for visiting. And, as for you liking my blog, I can only say the feeling is mutual. I love AGG!

Pls do randomly delurk more often!

Renu said...

Oh! Blackberry obsession is... err so, so..., err... UNCOOL! Totally unlike you, I tell you ;)
I would like to appeal to your better senses, please, please resist it.
:) and you've given me an idea for a new post, thanku.

Rada said...

@ Renu: Where were you all these days? :-)
No need to worry. I do not seem to have caught the BB virus, at least not till now!

Rada said...

@ Cynic: How did I miss your comment? Sorry for not responding.

New job is OK. It's a start-up more or less, which makes me "the chief cook and bottle washer" all rolled into one"!

I'm sure much fun would ensue.

anonandon said...

You know, I've almost made that shift to the Blackberry (the only thing holding me back is the fact that I can't afford the one I want just at this moment). I'm petrified I'm going to turn into the manic-phone-checker. Shudder. =D

Rada said...

@anonandon: Yours fears are fully justified. That blinking red light can be mesmerising!

But then, I'm sure you are a person of iron will-power! ;-)

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Stepping Sideways... by K. Radhakrishnan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.