Friday, July 25, 2008

Put Down That BlackBerry!

No, I’m not talking about blackberries that you eat. Those are good for you. I am referring to the BlackBerry phone/PDA, which some have dubbed the “crackberry.” It got the nickname from the addictive nature of Blackberry. It seems once one has it in their hands, it’s hard to put down.

Don’t get me wrong, these are great tools for business and for personal use. Where I draw the line is where people are so attached to their BlackBerry that they type on it while driving, walking, during weddings and funerals, at restaurants, while shopping, etc. Today’s Wall Street Journal talks about the problem, which says

Texting-on-the-go is just the latest tech-created public nuisance, one that's spreading quickly across a world still grappling with cellphone-addled drivers and wireless-headset users who appear to be speaking too loudly to no one in particular. Like driving cellphone users, mobile texters typing furiously into their cellphones, BlackBerry devices or iPhones can be safety hazards.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, several high-profile accidents may have had a role in prompting states such as New Jersey and Washington to outlaw texting while driving. Among the accidents the group cited: a cyclist killed by a texting teen driver in 2005.

Are some people’s lives really so busy that they have to type while walking or driving? Or, are people simply becoming enslaved by the technology? It’s almost as if people think that because they have a new tool to use in communicating, they have to use it all the time to rationalize the expense, or to give themselves a feeling of importance. Personally, I think most people’s lives are not so complex and busy that they can’t take a minute to stop walking, or wait until they are done driving, to type their message, or make a cell phone call.

I think back to only a few years ago when cell phones weren’t as ubiquitous, and when a BlackBerry was still first thought of as a berry you eat. Life was just as busy then, but somehow people managed. Cell phones and the BlackBerry have made it much easier and faster to communicate, but that doesn’t mean that one HAS to do it at that very moment the impulse strikes.

So for those of you who walk or drive while texting on your BlackBerry or cell phones, STOP. I don’t want you to run into me, or my car. And while we’re on the subject of annoying technology, when you’re talking on your phone, especially using your Bluetooth headset, think about where you are an if everyone needs to hear what your saying.

Technology is a wonderful thing, but sometimes how people use it, isn’t!

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