Wednesday, September 15, 2004

My Beef with Blackberrys

I’m convinced that the motivating force behind the creation of the blackberry was to create a device that would give people a polite way to avoid conversation in the elevator. You can say all you want to about wireless access to email and the ability to be in near-constant contact with your co-workers, but I know the truth: you just don’t want to talk to me.

Case in point: This morning I was in a particularly good mood when I arrived at work. I was on time, I had gotten a seat on the subway, and I had made the very rational decision to wear flip-flops while commuting instead of painful, pointy-toed (but oh so cute) high heels. In other words, I was one very shiny, happy person. As I got into the elevator I looked around smiling, eager to share my good mood through a well-placed comment about the weather (crisp and beautiful) or the current Jewish holiday (a happy New Year to you and yours). But, alas, every single other person in that elevator was completely absorbed by their blackberry. I was surrounded by ten pairs of thumbs, all frantically flying as they rushed to respond to the correspondence that, apparently, couldn’t wait the 90 seconds it would take them to reach their desks. As a member of the administrative staff (cough, secretary), I am not the lucky owner of such a device and was therefore left to focus on resisting the urge to make faces at myself in the shiny elevator doors. Ah, forget resisting. Everyone is reading their email anyway.


At 9/15/2004 04:01:00 PM,

Ummmm ... blackberries.

Must be a New York thing. Here in Utah I don't know anyone with a Blackberry or at least I haven't observed anyone using one.

Maybe you should figure out something funny you could do to an elevator full of people who are doing this. There's gotta be some kind of trick you could play on them or some kind of offhand comment you could make that would be good for a laugh.


At 9/16/2004 02:00:00 AM,

I am, in general, of the opinion that unless it is strictly for purposes of facilitating logistics ("I'm lost and I need directions," or "I'm in traffic and going to be a bit late," or "My plane just landed") then most forms of portable communication significantly lower the quality of life. It makes people be in a place they're not. It distracts you from being connected to the people around you. On a social level, this certainly lessens the chance of making those occasional new, incidental friendships that sometimes turn into really solid friendships. On a spiritual level I think it can be even worse-- deadening one to possible cues and promptings from the spirit of an action that should be taken towards someone in their immediate vicinity.

At 9/16/2004 03:30:00 PM,


Guess you haven't seen "Cellular" yet. If you had, you'd realize how important portable communication is to the everyday situation of saving the lives of strangers in need.

I think you make a great point that had never crossed my mind. Is there a level of immersion in technology that deadens us (if only slightly) to the promptings of the Spirit? Very possible. That might be worth further consideration, especially because we can expect technology to become increasingly implemented into our lives.

At 9/16/2004 05:03:00 PM,

I'm not sure about the regional distribution statistics for Blackberrys, but New Yorkers are especially audacious - several of my classmates at Columbia would regularly whip out their PDAs as soon as the professor started to lecture. (I've never seen anything like it outside of my Elders Quorum). It's only a matter of time before White Bibles are issued at every school, museum, concert, and movie with a list of prohibited e-gadgets. Maybe (hopefully) the Church will follow suit.

Whether or not PDAs are inherently spirit-numbing, I feel like PDAs can become so time consuming that we miss out on opportunities for service, and other fill-in-the-blank seminary answers for spirit building. The same could be said about TV and cell phones, not to mention my current job.

At 9/20/2004 03:59:00 PM,

For those of you who actually have a Blackberry, I've included a link to LYMA's atom.xml feed for your downloading convenience. Please don't let it become a detriment to your family and friends.

At 9/22/2004 02:23:00 PM,


I'll grant that Blackberry use can be annoying. On the other hand, it's a great escape from the limbo of elavator and elevator-bank etiquette, which I've always found to be a confusing mystery.

You're standing at the elevator bank. (For 10 minutes, this is Cravath, after all). Someone who you've passed by a few times in the hall comes in. Do you say something? Do you say hi? You really don't know who this person is, and you've never spoken to him/her before. What's the proper protocol?

I'm kind of an introvert, and I'm always wondering what the proper protocol is. I'm not particularly comfortable talking to people I don't really know. (Sometimes I think this gives the impression that I don't like people, which isn't really true, I just don't know what to say, so I don't say anything).

So I usually just don't say anything. Then you're in an elevator bank with another person, both not saying anything. That's uncomfortable.

So I'm happy to escape to the Blackberry. If I see someone I know, I'll say hello, but otherwise the blackberry is a lot better than silently looking around the elevator with a bunch of other people doing the same.

Perhaps the moral is that Cravath needs to find people who are more extroverted and outgoing.




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