Monday, May 21, 2007

Is the Blackberry anti-social?

I checked my Blackberry towards the end of dinner with an overseas colleague, and it was gently suggested this might be anti-social behavior. This sparked an interesting discussion, where I gave my usual pitch as to being more productive and available by checking email constantly. But its truly an interesting question.

Do human interactions need to be exclusive, or can I "double date", so to speak? I get a call from a colleague during a meeting that to can't take, so I email back "what's up?". I can get a request for tech help, and forward it without speaking to anyone, all while attending a kids soccer game or ordering a burger at a diner. I may be fooling myself, but I truly do believe I am more productive because of my Blackberry.

As to the answer to this question, in part this comes down to the expectation of social company. Baby boomer's single-task, and expect undivided attention. GenX/GenY grew up with IM, and accept multitasking.

If your kid looks up from a soccer game, and your typing on your Blackberry, will they say "Dad's multitasking" or not? However, I bet I'll be at more soccer games than the previous generation.

1 comment:

glemak said...

its all about priorities & timing jon - checking your bb during breaks in play so that you can focus on your kids while they're playing is the trick...

i too have had some legacy minded folks in the work environment state that they don't want to see blackberries in their meetings - problem is that all other work stops for them - they need to feel like the single focus of all in attendance instead of trusting that their employees/coworkers can get multiple tasks done concurrently via technology - the etiquette is knowing when play is stopped...