Optical/IP Networks

Still More on the CrackBerry

10:30 AM -- I saw a whole bunch in the press today on the BlackBerry Addiction problem, including this fascinating piece from ABC News. Lawsuits? Lawyers? Safes at hotels for locking up your BlackBerry so you can’t use it? Yikes! I had no idea things had gotten this out of control.

The advice I’ve always given to enterprise workers who complain about their “electronic leashes” is that every product on the market has an off button -- learn to use it. Very few people really need total connectivity. Moreover, I’m in favor of two weeks in the stocks for people whose cellphones ring during a movie, and three weeks for interrupting a live performance in a theater. The only exception here is for opera, which has only a minor tongue-lashing as a penalty.

But it seems that there is now an expectation, imposed either by the enterprise in some cases, or by semi-paranoid BlackBerry-carriers, that one must be connected 24/7, and respond immediately to everything. Wireless technologies are supposed to enhance our lives, not turn us into trained seals. Any high tech can be transformational with respect to work, but it’s time to stop; or, better yet, modify policies and procedures when the downsides begin to take a serious toll. My previous suggestion for moving from push to pull could be a good start here. (See Pull, Not Push.)

— 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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