The new craze in America is a heavy diet of BlackBerry. BlackBerry for breakfast, BlackBerry for lunch, BlackBerry for dinner, BlackBerry during meetings, BlackBerry in line at Disney, you get the point. How have we become so addicted to our BlackBerry mobile devices?
I was recently at a BPMS Summit in San Diego. Every morning for breakfast they herded us like cattle into the breakfast area where they set up "networking" tables by industry. I sat down at the CPG industry table expecting to start up some meaningful "networking" discussions with some of my customers and peers. What I found was six people at my table buried in their BlackBerries. "Good Morning", I said. Four of the six looked up, smiled and acknowledged my existence. Then they hurried back to their life support systems in case they missed in email in that brief second that I interrupted. I started eating my breakfast as all eyes focused on their life support system with their fingers working their magic on these evil devices. After a few minutes of silence (other then me munching on my granola) I asked, "How have you liked the summit so far?", to the lady to my right. She peeked up and said it was nice. After another minute of small talk she hurried back to her wireless addiction.
I attended session after session of really good information about BPMS, SOA, change management, and many other topics for the next 3 days. What amazed me is that several people spent $1800 in conference fees plus T&E just so they could read their BlackBerries in the Sheraton Hotel in San Diego. What's up with that?
Maybe I am too old school. After all, I have only owned a Tivo for 8 months now. Have you ever spent hours getting your Power Point ready for a meeting only to find a bunch of people tuning you out to their BlackBerry when you speak? Have you ever sent emails to someone who you know is in an important meeting and get an instant reply? There ain't a whole lot of listening going on!
Let's do some math. Let's say the average senior management type person gets 120 emails a day (probably a very conservative number). In an 8-hour day that's 15 emails an hour or an email every 4 minutes. If that person is on a heavy diet of BlackBerry, how much information other then the emails is that person actually processing throughout the day? Not much. Maybe that's why they need so much email....to get them up to date on what's going on.
I have read in so many books, articles, and blogs that email is no longer a good form of communication. If you really want to get a message across you need face to face interactions and you need to establish relationships. That is exactly the opposite of what the BlackBerry Diet gives you. So I ask all of my fellow bloggers, is the Blackberry Diet ruining corporate America's ability to communicate effectively? Or, am I just behind the curve like I was with the Tivo?
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