A Crackberry By Any Other Name…

By Jim Selman | Bio


A few weeks ago, I posted my musings about Blackberries and other gizmos that seem to have taken over our minds and that are becoming the focus for much of our attention (to the point of almost being amusing to see folks pulling them out). The media has dubbed these devices “crackberries’ in view of their seemingly addictive hold on us.

Well, in spite of my protests to never get hooked, I bought one and am now one of ‘them’—sneaking glances, trying to look nonchalant as the familiar buzz tickles by chest, and in general enjoying my ‘instant’ access to the web and my network. I still haven’t succumbed to texting, but Lord help me, it can’t be far away. Yesterday as I was ‘checking in’, I realized that I was in the same ‘zone’ I used to be in when I smoked cigarettes. In fact, as I looked around at the multitudes of others who seemed to be in the same zone and it was staggering. These were the pack-a-day people I used to join in the courtyards taking a puff at coffee breaks.

Could it be that we’ve kicked one habit only to replace it with another? Could R.J. Reynolds be secretly funding these machines? Here are the parallels I can see in myself:

  1. The “urge” to look is the same urge I had to puff.
  2. The crackberry provides comfort similar to that of a friend who doesn’t argue.
  3. The amount of time to smoke one cigarette is about the same as it takes to check about an hour’s worth of ‘incoming’ and make a couple of replies.
  4. When people suggest I may be overdoing it, I assure them I can stop anytime.
  5. I do feel a mild sense of guilt when I am doing email instead of reading a book or talking to someone face-to-face.
  6. I rationalize that this is a harmless affliction and a lot healthier than smoking.

If someone can invent a ‘Blackberry patch’, they will make a fortune. It won’t be long before we’ll be participating in 12-Step Programs for living without email ‘one-day-at-a-time’, we’ll be advocating a ban on advertising these devices, and, who knows, we might even get our kids back.

So there you have it. I now can Google to my heart’s content, instantly respond to questions I receive in ‘real time’, and sometimes generate my own. The irony, of course, is that I am being more productive, my life has seemed to accelerate, I think I spend a little less time at my laptop checking email, and I am becoming a comfortable combatant in the ‘handheld’ revolution.  I’ve even made a few new friends in the courtyard.

© 2009 Jim Selman. All rights reserved.

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