I spent a few minutes this morning starting to do some research into how Blackberry’s are used.
I visited the Crackberry Forum and have looking around for a conversation to join on how their productivity has been improving from using their Blackberry.
I am still searching, but after 30 minutes, I can’t find anything on the topic.
That is, unless one defines productivity as the ability to say “I can send and receive email in the shower,” or “I am addicted to my device.”
While the Blackberry undoubtedly allows its users a certain freedom of movement, that capability does not mean that someone is more productive. I compare it with another dubious claim — having a new piece of gym equipment at home, does not mean that someone is more healthy.
If there is one thing advertisers are very good at, it’s selling the general public on the idea that achieving their goals has more to do with purchasing equipment, than it does personal habits and practices. Unless underlying practices change, its hard to imagine how any piece of equipment can make a difference.
I am coming to believe that the gains to be made by being able to read and send email from anywhere, are easily negated by the many, many times that a Blackberry user is distracted from doing the primary task they are out to accomplish.
Here is a case in point, in a post from the forum:
Today I was at my Wife’s dad’s funeral and was sitting in the second row, the first thing my mother in-law did when we sat down was reach behind her to where I was sitting and said, “give it to me”. I knew EXACTLY what she was talking about and refused but I showed her that it was in Vibrate and I wouldn’t be doing anything work related at that time because they knew I was busy with the funeral today. That lasted all of about 5 minutes into the service before I started replying back to e-mails very quietly and attempting to login to one of my servers to restart the anti-spam service because I was getting hammered with SPAM to my BB.
Setting aside the obvious display of bad manners, this kind of behavior costs something to the user, his wife, his mother-in-law and those around him.
This is just not a demonstration of an increase in productivity.
But the problem doesn’t lie in the device. The device is superb at doing what it does — providing portable email-based computing.
However, people whose practices are poor don’t benefit from the purchase of a Blackberry, any more than a monkey’s safety improves when it finds a working gun in the forest. In each case, there might be a kind of addiction that makes it a bit useful, but the overall result could very well lead to disaster.