You can hardly go anywhere without seeing something to do with a BlackBerry (which, for the uninitiated, is the king of all Personal Digital Assistants). People up and down the country simply must have one – a new status symbol? These often-tiny little things have the ability to send and receive emails, text messages, telephone calls, as well as update our Twitter and Facebook pages. Our whole world can be condensed into something no heavier than 88 grams.
Yet whilst these devices can be a blessing in certain situations, it’s vital that we don’t forget our manners. We can sometimes get so focused on who we’re communicating with digitally through our PDAs, we forget those slightly nearer to us.
The usual rules of mobile telephone etiquette apply with BlackBerries but there are perhaps a few more rules to add for these demi-gods.
When you have a face-to-face meeting, whether it be with one person or a whole group, turn your device to vibrate: don’t have it sitting on the normal (loud) setting so that it pings, flashes and shakes every time you get an email or text. People often think that it’s a popularity contest. It’s not. Focus on who is in front of you in real life.
Never place your BlackBerry on any surface during a meeting or lunch appointment, even if it’s turned to silent. The BlackBerry has a data light, which will flash every time data is being transferred. This can be very off-putting to others and you will no doubt be distracted too. Out of sight is out of mind.
After a day’s work, don’t go back home to your family or friends and sit constantly on your device, unless it’s vital. We have to switch off sometimes and it can make loved ones feel devalued if your conversation dries up with them but seems to flourish on your BlackBerry.
BlackBerries can be wonderful sources of communication and entertainment but whilst we may revel in their multiple features, others probably won’t. Take care to think about others before using your device. Of course, if there’s no one around…
Tutor, The English Manner