Thursday, December 4, 2008

"Without my Blackberry I am useless."

"This is my Blackberry. There are many like it but this one is mine. My Blackberry is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life. Without me, my Blackberry is useless. Without my Blackberry I am useless."

According to a recent MSNBC article, the above quote is an actual tag line written by a dedicated BlackBerry user who posts comments at

A BlackBerry is a "smart phone" device that, among other things, offers 24/7 instant access to e-mail and the Internet. Its nickname of CrackBerry is based on its often addictive properties.

I'm guessing the above tag line is probably meant tongue-in-cheek. Nevertheless, it strikes me as an odd symptom of our current technological fascination that so many people are so tied to electronic devices. What concerns me even more is the unquestioning usage of such technology.

Far from eschewing tech, by the way, I do use quite a bit of it, but I'd like to think I do so in moderation and with a philosophical awareness of the implications of technology on my life, thought, and worldview.

What do you think? Any BlackBerry or other smart phone users out there? How are such devices beneficial to you? How are they detrimental?

3 comments: said...

I use my Blackberry for contacts, calendaring, reminders, and most importantly, Bible reading (TNIV, ESV, NASB, NLT from

Moreover, it's nice to have a camera on it since I was able to document a car accident my wife was in and provide insurance with the necessary "evidence" to determine fault. And, speaking of images (noting the Curmudgeon's disdain for it) it's rather handy to have family and vacation photos on it that I can share with those who care and provide me with visual reminders of their blessings to my life.

Finally, having some great jazz or classical as .mp3 files allows me to drown out the obnoxious noises and TVs in waiting rooms at medical facilities, which I frequent. As I read through Scripture, I can be listening to Bill Evans or Bach.

I do NOT have 24/7 internet data package on it since it has a Wi-Fi card and I can connect to my home wireless network and download as necessary.

Regardless, if I lost it tomorrow, my life would continue just as it has since all the data is backed up on my laptop and external storage drive.

david said...

I’m a software consultant, so it is pretty normal in my profession to own a smart phone; however, I have resisted the craze for several reasons, mostly from observing how others use the technology:

a) Being distracted by emails and reminders during important meetings. Also people jump the gun to respond to emails before looking into the problem more carefully. I will often get a hasty two-sentence response with the “Sent from my Blackberry” message at the bottom.

b) Being detached in social situations – with the internet and email at your fingertips, each spare moment turns into a thumb flicking event. The new social escape is your phone. Ironically, this could negatively affect business networking since many contacts and acquaintances are picked up during “down time,” i.e. standing in line at the bank, waiting for a table at the restaurant, standing in the elevator, etc. You simply don’t need to look around and introduce yourself in these situations if you’re surfing the net.

c) Added stress levels – for me there is nothing worse than having a nice relaxing dinner on the town, and then hearing a beep or “you’ve got mail.” Of course you simply must know what it’s about, so you check your mail. Something stressful is happening at work! Now you get to think about it until tomorrow when you’re actually at work. For me, if something is urgent I tell folks to call my phone; otherwise, I don’t want to know about it until I get in the next day. One of my friends says he will wake up in the middle of the night to check new email. There is no way I want to introduce that kind of stress equation into my life.

d) Added expectations – when your friends find out your have a smart phone, the demand for responding to emails can go up. I have seriously overheard someone being scolded for not responding to an email within the hour (this was not at work).

To some extent, all these factors were already introduced with the plain old cell phone. The point is that smart phones amplify the symptoms, so respectively one must put more thought into using the technology wisely.

Robert Velarde said...

Thanks for the comments. I don't have a cell phone, much less a smart phone. I do, however, have an "ancient" Palm PDA that is about six years old now. It has WiFi so I can get online so long as their is an access point. I do find it useful for carrying around a number of Bible translations, reference e-books, catching up on news, etc.

Unlike Marshall McLuhan who said, "The medium is the message," as I've written before, I believe, "The medium is what we make it." By this I mean, in brief, that we can indeed wisely manage our use of technology and can indeed make it beneficial not just detrimental.