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The Wider Implications of the Blackberry Outage

Posted: 13/10/11 12:37

Believe me when I tell you I am no tech guru but Robert Shaw posted an excellent and accessible piece yesterday about Blackberry's woes.

Like millions he may have fallen out of love with his Blackberry this week but the whole episode does pose some real questions both for the human condition and, more widely, for the times we live through.

The just now, the here and now.

The Blackberry saga has filled Twitter with a mix of angst and happiness. And, like millions, I have been on my own personal journey this week. From angry calls to our network provider on Monday to the serenity of not having to answer emails from across the globe over dinner last night.

I first got my blackberry in 2004 and it changed my life. From then on I have been always ON. The kind of emotionally nourishing break from the world of work we used to crave on our evenings, weekends and holidays just went out the window.

The development of the always on culture has contributed to a wider lack of perspective and, perhaps, to the kind of judgements which has made the economic downturn deeper and longer than any of us would have wanted.

Last night over dinner I talked with a good friend I have not seen for almost two years. Gone was the need to keep reaching into the pocket for my little electronic book. We lingered. We finished sentences. We stopped.

We did, of course, talk about our blackberries and we pondered a wider question. Will the Blackberry outage be seen as a moment - a metaphor - to pause in the midst of the really difficult economic and social issues we face?

A time to recapture the need for human rather than digital engagement. Perhaps.

But my Blackberry is working again. I suppose I hope yours is too?

 

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