Up until about November ’09, my cell phone was pretty basic. An old-school LG, it was white with one of those keyboards slid out from underneath. (And when I got it in March ’08, I thought the full keyboard was the thing to have–man was I wrong.) Until my beloved phone started acting up. Keys started sticking, you know, the general run of the mill wear-and-tear when technology starts to get to the ripe old age of one and a half. Turning to two of my best friends–who had both acquired Blackberries and were hooked onto something mysterious to me called BBM (Blackberry Messenger, a text message-like service exclusive to Blackberry owners)–I inquired as to what my next step should be cell phone-wise. (The only requirement was that I personally needed was Internet, to have access to e-mail for work purposes.) As an Apple fan, I was intent on getting myself an iPhone, much to their dismay. “NO!” They would exclaim. “You HAVE to get a Blackberry… so we can BBM!”
“Huh?” I would shoot back, confused. Being my two best friends (going back 8-plus years), I was privy nearly all the details in their lives, but BBM was still a mystery. “What’s BBM, and why do I need it so badly?” They treated it like a secret club, and only the Blackberry would gain me access.
And until I actually got the Blackberry (the more economical choice between that and the iPhone), I didn’t understand what they were talking about. Putting the word out to friends and family that I was an owner of this new device, I was thrown into a world of PIN numbers, status updates (like I don’t already have enough of these going with Facebook, Twitter and Google Buzz), Messenger Contacts and so on. My two friends were quick to create a three-way chat on BBM so that we can be in constant contact all the time, and two of us can converse without having to explain to the third what we’ve talked about: it can all be read right there, on the screen!
One feature about BBM you may not be familiar with if you’re not on the Crack(berry): when BBM-ing a contact, a check mark appears with a little “D” above it–indicating it’s been delivered to your contact. Once your message has been read by the recipient, the “D” switches to an “R” (meaning they read it–duh). While a convenient feature, I’ve noticed this can turn even the most respectable adults into whiny 14-year-olds. It’s particularly frustrating to see friends stressing about why their significant other isn’t answering them: “He READ my message, why didn’t he answer me?!” or “Oh my god, there’s no ‘D’ above the check mark, do you think the message has been delivered?!” And this is only part of it. A technological advancement that reverts your friends back to their pre-pubescent middle school personality is a setback in my opinion.
Then, of course, there’s the fact that you’re constantly connected to your e-mail, text messages, Internet, etc. etc. I’ll admit, for the most part I love being able to look up directions whenever I want, Google restaurant hours and whatnot, but I think we’re all over-connected. I now completely understand the ‘Crackberry’ term and how true it is. I sometimes find myself getting frustrated when I don’t think my messages are being delivered, my Internet won’t load fast enough or my e-mails are behind. But then I think: just relax. Googling directions to the nearest H&M is not a life or death situation, the Internet will load, it’s not the end of the world.
The solution? Shutting off the Crackberry–at least once in a while.
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