Brian Bailey Preface to the Revised Edition

Blackberry Warning Labels

My manager, Terry Storch, has posted a great Blackberry review. As we have begun to experiment with the Blackberry, I agree with the numerous benefits they provide - they are truly amazing devices. Here are some of the hesitations I have:

Distractions

This is fairly obvious, but one downside to always being connected is the inability to avoid consistent interruptions. The office world has devised numerous ways to eliminate distractions, including closed doors, Do Not Disturb buttons, Out of Office email settings, off-site meetings, and silent cell phones. The Blackberry intentionally overrides all of these, making it very difficult to focus and converse at length.

Priorities

Everyone in the modern office struggles to balance long-term, big picture projects with the minute-by-minute demands of the In Box. Since the In Box is with you 24-hours a day in the Blackberry world, and a significant benefit is the ability to quickly respond to issues, it can be very tempting to focus on day-by-day minutiae rather than larger priorities.

Depth

The Blackberry screen and keyboard are better than any previous handheld device, but by definition, it is not a device designed for lengthy communcation. The ideal Blackberry conversation is a three-five sentence email, followed by a one sentence response, not unlike instant messaging. This limitation makes the discussion of more complex issues very difficult.

These hesitations are not so much limitations or faults of the device itself, but simply issues that arise with every advance in communication, from the fax machine to the cell phone. The Blackberry makes things possible that were not possible before, and in the process raises questions for each organization considering their use.