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Optical/IP

Pull, Not Push

4:00 PM -- The fact that the BlackBerry and, to be fair, its brethren have changed the way we all work has been more than adequately covered, and the downside of mobile access to email, the dreaded BlackBerry addiction, has also been widely explored. As I see it, there are two problems here. The first is that we’re simply bombarded with every email sent to us, and the mobile email device becomes a constant interruption. While there are many who need to work this way (my friends in the investment-banking community can relate), most of us do not. Most emails we get are not worthy of immediate attention; most never really need to be read at all. And if you’re not doing spam filtering before the mail is forwarded to the mobile device, you’re in really, really big trouble.

The second issue is social in nature. I personally am irritated when the person I’m talking with (in person, of course) thinks it’s OK to answer their cell phone or glance at their BlackBerry as it buzzes or beeps. Sure, there are times when one absolutely needs to take the call or respond to the message, but this behavior is by and large unacceptable. Think of the signal that’s being sent to the other party -- you’re just not as important as the other guy. I think society is strained enough without these subtle degradations.

What I’ve done in response is to dump push altogether, and to go back to pull. I check for email when I have the time, and scan headers for anything I might need to deal with sooner rather than later. Again, while this won’t work for everyone, at least your friends and colleagues won’t feel insulted, and you may actually be more productive in the bargain.

— Craig Mathias is Principal Analyst at the Farpoint Group , an advisory firm specializing in wireless communications and mobile computing. Special to Unstrung

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