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"I quit smoking 28 years ago," one executive told The New York Times, "and that was easier than being without my BlackBerry." Since the BlackBerry outage a couple of weeks ago, the press has been going crazy with editorials on dysfunctional social behavior related to obsessive e-mail checking. Well, we've read the pieces so you don't have to. In the past week alone, there have been 67 articles in the mainstream media that use the word "CrackBerry." Bonus points go to The Press in New Zealand for using the word "thorny" to describe Research in Motion's (RIM) dilemma, and Ad Age for noting that BlackBerry was in a "jam." Follow the link for a roundup of the most provocative conclusions.
"A recent study by Ryerson University says the 'potential for dysfunctional (BlackBerry) usage should be recognized and addressed.'… Once we make technology the master, we know who the slave is going to be." The Toronto Star,
"The outraged contention by some that BlackBerry service is so essential that it is the equivalent of a public utility, like telephones, electricity or natural gas, is a bit over the top. RIM failed customers by not making sure its software was ready for prime time, then compounded the anger by maintaining a near silence on what went wrong… Users deserve a break on their bills." The Star Ledger,
"We chuckled some last week when we heard news of the BlackBerry outage. Nothing like watching an entire industry freak out as the addicts are cut off from their supply, we thought." On the other hand, one user told Ad Age: "Frankly, I hadn't known about the outage until I read about it in the paper, which proves that I am not addicted, that I am a 'social user' and, of course, that I can quit anytime I choose." Ad Age (subscription only),
"Participation gives people a sense of belonging, one traceable to the atavistic desire to congregate and cooperate for safety and survival. In addition… the constant checking is an exercise in optimism, like being an explorer or a gambler. … Users talk of phantom urges, like (no kidding) the feeling of a hip vibrating, as if to suggest a belt-hooked BlackBerry is buzzing when, in fact, the person is [in] the shower. The New York Times,
"Even White House spokesman Tony Fratto expressed frustration, joking with reporters that the White House had started a 'twelve-step group' to cope with the withdrawal…. An online poll of 70 large companies by expense-management service ProfitLine found that 81% of respondents had some disruption to operations, with 44.5% reporting 'moderate or substantial' impact on productivity." The Wall Street Journal.
"If you call to complain, Cingular will hook you up with a $2.50 refund. $2.50!! My guess is that the time it will take on the phone to get such a discount will not reimburse the average Blackberry user for their hourly rate." Gizmodo,