Does Having a BlackBerry Really Change a Person?

By Mara Blumenthal on 24 Oct 2008 10:13 am EDT

Dear Berry Dear Berry,

I am a young professional female and I'm so excited the Storm is on its way. I have Verizon and I will be purchasing it the day it hits stores, and it will also be my very first BB. A few years ago when I was still in College I contemplated getting a BB because I really thought it was a cool phone that you could do a lot with. But, I then did a reality check that "I am not that important to have a BlackBerry, I don't own a business nor am I professional yet," and none of my friends had one either. So I decided against it and have had regular phones ever since. My most recent phone, the LG Env, is cool for texting but I'm tired of it now.

Then about a year ago all of my friends out of the clear blue got BB's and basically I'm the only one that does not have one. I've seen them go from normal people to BB obsessed, constantly texting, never put the phone down, their eye's don't even leave their BB, Basically their lives revolve around their BB. I feel like an outsider in a way. Anyway, my question is, I'm super excited about finally getting a BB and a touchscreen at that, but how will a BB change my life? for the good or will I become obsessed like the rest of my friends? Does having a BB really change a person? Thank you,

- Excited and Curious

Dear "Excited and Curious",

First of all, let me say congratulations in advance on hitting the stores the day the Storm arrives and making one of them your own! In addition, I must tell you that I believe you did a very smart thing waiting to purchase a BlackBerry. Not because you didn't have a business or didn't find a "real" need for it however, because you waited until it made sense for you. True, you might feel now that you're behind your friends however, you will have a BlackBerry in hand very soon and it will become like a friend you carry around with you everywhere. Owning a BlackBerry can be for fun or for business (or both!), that's one of the great things about them but you will find yourself realizing the true potential of the Storm once you own it.

There's no question that whichever BlackBerry you own they are addicting. You will find yourself looking for the red blinking light to see if you have email, etc. and enjoy using it to its full potential. The BlackBerry has an unusual appeal that makes it extremely difficult to put down. However, there are boundaries you can set for yourself if you find yourself out of control. First off, be safe and don't email or text while driving (see previous "Dear Berry" column). As an all-in-one device that will help you manage your professional life while having fun using all of its features, you will find that it was worth the wait. If you are finding yourself addicted to the point that it gets in the way of relationships, work and personal contacts make sure to set limits. Leave it in the car while going to dinner for example. Remember, the BlackBerry is to be enjoyed and not become a burden. As a member of the CrackBerry Nation you will see there is so much to learn about the productivity and fun you will get from the device and always remember that has the steps to dealing with the addiction if it gets out of control (there's even a full out CrackBerry Book coming soon).

I do think a BlackBerry can change a person at times. There are times people become more self absorbed in their device and ignore the people and surroundings in front of them however, you can control that or try to. In addition, you might find them irritated with you which is a signal that with that person(s) you should put the BlackBerry aside. However, a BlackBerry can truly bring fun into your life and knowledge just by using it. Which in many cases can cheer people on days when things may not be going so well.

Enjoy your new Storm when you have it and try not to worry before you have an issue. If you do, I'm always here to help. All the best,

- Berry

Need some Advice to Help Balance Your BlackBerry and Life? Contact Dear Berry!  

Reader comments

Does Having a BlackBerry Really Change a Person?


People love to communicate. That's why all the social sites like Facebook have become so popular. And people get addicted to those.

What makes the BB 'worse' in that respect is that it gives you all that without having to be at your PC, but it's as instant and easy as being at your PC with a phone next to it too.

What's hard is sometimes realising that with people physically near you, trying to communicate with you, it's sometimes difficult to remember they really ought to get priority over those doing the same via the internet ;-).

"What's hard is sometimes realising that with people physically near you, trying to communicate with you, it's sometimes difficult to remember they really ought to get priority over those doing the same via the internet ;-)."

It shouldn't be hard, it is called "courtesy". Anyone ignored by those they are with, because of a blckberry or phone, should be entitled to smack that person upside the head, or just leave them. I was once spending too much time with "virtual friends" and fortunately my real friends kidnapped me and made me see sense.

...some people become possessive over their BlackBerry. To a point where it's almost like they are trying to hide something, albeit they might not be, but it seems that way.

I fully agree that people love to communicate, and with more avenues to do that than ever (in person, television, radio, letter, email, text, phone calls, messengers, on and on and on), sometimes the live version of it gets left in the dust.

I remember the pre-digital age, and quite clearly so. I remember the revolution when the first walkman came out. When cell phones first started getting popular a little under 10 years ago, everyone started saying, "Dude, you don't have a cell phone?". Now they are far and away the norm, to the point a lot of my friends don't even have home phones anymore. As RIM captures more and more marketshare, as more people become fully aware of what these phones are capable of, Blackberries are the next big thing. I've had quite a few people come up to me and say, "Ooohh, you have a Blackberry?" We folks of the nation we're just ahead of the curve, no pun intended.

Sooner rather than later, something else will capture our interest as a society and will be the next big thing. Our BB's won't be forgotten in the corner collecting dust, but they will probably assimilate even more into just another part of our normal routine. It's hard to imagine 50-60 years ago things like phones, cars, and automobiles were still considered "cutting-edge" to have, now most people don't even think twice about them. It will be the same with our phones one day.

I have an LG Dare... and I like to text and I like touch phones and I have verizon, so I, too, will be an early storm adopter. I don't know if I'll be there the first day, as I want to play with one for a bit, but I intend to get A BlackBerry now that I...well, see how cool they are.

I never really thougt a blackberry device would be for me. I always had regular phones texting frequently. Then about this time last year I purchased the 8830 from verizon not really knowing much and a few weeks later the pearl came out and I switched. Needless to say I fell in love with it the first day. Then I started the investigation......
I got attached to the BES at work....
I stumbled upon a website called

All of a sudden I find myself unable to live without the device and checking multiple times a day - im addicted and obsessed, it just happened.

So to you "excited and curious"... its my oppinion that the fact you have already found the website.. and you want the storm realllllyy bad.. you are already changing...

Just let it happen and enjoy the ride!

From the sounds of it, you are already aware of the negatives of the obsession and will focus on the positives like -berry stated above.

You waited to make the right decision... get it and have fun!

Hello my name is Anthony i am a crackberry addict, i have been addicted for about four years now. My addiction go to the point where my girlfriend would hide my phone because i checked it so much and had to have it by my side. LOL :)

It has been such a hard process but you have to keep things in perspective.

A blackberry definitely will keep you in touch with the world when you not in front of a computer. I would not say it changes you but you create some questionable crackberry habits.

I personally hate blackberries for this very reason (although this extends to any sort of device that can be used for e-mail, web-surfing etc. and even to regular cell phones as well). Don't get me wrong, I'll be picking up my first Blackberry when the Storm drops, but at work, with my friends, everywhere, no one can go five minutes without checking their phone. At a work dinner last week, during conversation, everyone was staring at their laps answering e-mails, texting, whatever. Even my own girlfriend and I are sometimes absorbed in our phones when we're together.

BBs are great devices and make it so much easier to communicate, but sometimes I wish I lived in a world without all this fancy technology and rather than texting someone back and forth, I could sit down and have a conversation without distractions.

I guess it's a double-edged sword to an extent, and as I become "more important" at work and need to be in touch outside of the office, the BB is the most obvious choice for my next step, but I miss the "old" days sometimes.

How true about communicating and staying in touch. And to be able to do so without being in front of a PC is a big plus. The BB definitely keeps you in touch with your social network or can help you be more productive in business, e.g., quicker response time. It does seem all of us tend to be addicted to this wonderful technological device but you must admit it does keep you "connected" to people you might otherwise not be in touch with. Of course "the addicted" need to try to remain respectful of others - I know it's easier said than done :>)

Thanks for all of the comments. I'm looking forward to all of your thoughts!

Berry being connected, not a hindrance, too? Getting emails all the time, and you’re working on a project, but you keep stopping when you get an email on your BlackBerry (because you can’t help the addiction).

So, is technology really a benefit? Plus, people expect more, and more with the latest technology. We’re expected to be available almost 24/7/365. Some companies have really lost their minds. Funny thing is, they don’t ask you to be available, they expect it since you have a BlackBerry…

Makes sense?

It is expected. I can't tell you how many times I get e-mails sent to my work account in the middle of the night telling me I have a meeting the next morning. I don't have a BB yet and I certainly don't want to check my work e-mail at night, having to bring my laptop home from the office, but it is just expected...

I commented on this, with my above posting, but, I couldn't live without a Blackberry. I have everything on it, and I always have to have the latest device!

Plus, I'm a BES admin (not sure why) - LOL

I keep everything on my phone. I commingle work appointments with home appointments. I look for ways to keep other data on it. My wife's clothes sizes, bike serial numbers (in case of theft), the combination to our safes, car license plate number (in case they announce it over the intercom at stores). Really anything that I may or may not need. In college, I had every class in there. Bike rides, everybody's birthday, when I took an allergy pill (so I don't take another one too soon).

I also own a farm, so when I planted, when to harvest, when hunting seasons start (I don't hunt, but I want to know when to wear orange, so my neighbors don't shoot me!).

You will be amazed how much seemingly trivial info can help you. Stick it all in your BB.


Just have everyone you know get a Berry & then you can all communicate via the BBM & you don't have to worry about people getting upset with you :) LOL

it changed my life...and then i used it to change my brothers....and their spouses. I litterally have a crackberry family. My sibling and their spouses all have the pearl 8100 or 8130s. I gave my nephew a stuffed blackberry toy to play with when I last saw him. I have a 8703e(data only) that i have for work and a Bold for personal use. My bold puts me to sleep with music in bedside mode and wakes me up with an alarm.
I wake up and roll over and look at them on my nightstand almost hoping for a blinking red light. My sister and brother are the same. Having a blackberry changes your lifestyle..hells its practically a lifestyle the way you get things done. I put my shopping list on my blackberry. Plan parties and now if i meet a hot chick at a party..i get a picture with the sweet is that the next day when you like aww man what was that chicks name and what did she look like...bam!!! there it many awesome uses..

I hated cellphones, till I got my Pearl. Now I'm an addict too! And if your really into texting, wait till you use Vlingo. While it's not perfect, the ability to press one button and speak to do email, text, browsing and a whole lot more makes driving while communicating as safe as talking to the person in the passenger seat(or radio if your me).

i change cellphones every single year. i finally decided to get myself the BB Curve after months of drooling over it. my brother told me that i didn't really need it because it was mostly for those who are always on the go. the funny thing is that i told my sister about it and so she and her husband each got their BB Curve. so then my brother decided to go get one for himself. i easily convinced my siblings to get their own within the 2 weeks i got mine. the great thing about it is that i am able to communicate with my family more often with the use of the BB Messenger because we live too far away from each other. i respond to emails alot faster than before. i'm a working mom so i can't spend too much time on the computer. my husband likes to use my curve when he gets bored at work and can go browse the web. so it serves its purpose. i'm quite satisfied with my BB curve & this should last me for a long time... hopefully at least 2 yrs? hahaha

never had a berry before i have the 8230 and got rid of it bought another phone and kept thinking about how happy i was with my berry to say the least i went bk and got my bb and have not put it down since. it is additcting email text everything in your hand, put it like this the world is at your finger will like the phone im planning on getting the bold ltr this yr. and the one thing i really like is you can enlarge the text which works for me because im legelly blind so its very good for me and i put the aol you got mail and text on it so i can hear when i got mail and so on. well enjoy your bb when your get it and also watchout for crackberry thumb,lol i got it,lol is there a cure for this? lol good luck

The Berry is extremely important to me in that it is literally my connection to my family and friends. My sister is a 25-year soldier and too many times, I could only reach her by email; all the times she's been deployed has taught me that even though many may enjoy being able to get away from email, some of us need it. There were tons of times when she was overseas that we couldn't "talk" but I was able to "speak" to her all the time. I depend on it for communication with my son's school, for talking to my husband throughout the day since he travels Monday-Thursday. I have friends and family scattered all over the United States (70 grandkids in my family) and I love being able to talk to them anywhere I am and anywhere they are. You're going to love all that you can do with it!

Yes... the Pearl definitely changed how I function when I'm not at my desk. I am a consultant who mostly work out of my house. For years I resisted the Blackberry seeing how so many of my colleagues were addicted and constantly checking their email as soon as it buzzes at them.

All that changed when the Pearl (8100) came out and AT&T (Cingular at the time) carried it. I had dropped my Motorola flip phone in water and needed a new phone. The Pearl's form factor sold me because it fit my hand like my Moto SLVR did and can use all the same chargers as the Moto. So even having two phones wasn't as much a hassle when I can use the same travel charger for both.

To be able to attend conferences without having to lug around a laptop (no matter how light it is still a laptop) to check mail is a blessing.

I am not as addicted to it as my colleagues. I turn off all notifications (e.g. when email or SMS comes in) so I don't get disturbed. I check to see if I have messages when I have a moment to - it's all on my own terms. It is a great device for international travel as well because of the technology RIM uses to deliver messages utilizes lower bandwidth than the Windows Mobile platform.

My husband had refused to get a BBY opting for an HTC phone with a slide out keyboard. But now he's going to have to get one because his new employer requires it. He's now waiting for the Bold... as am I. :-)

As someone else wrote earlier... you can run your life on this thing. It is a productivity and communication tool - it should be treated as just that.

I have an uncontrolable compulsion to check my file free mem/ close open apps/ delete emails/ delete txts/ clear log/ clear cache/ soft reset... not be satisified..

Does ANYONE else experience acute File Free memory obseeion Compulsion?!?!



I don't keep call logs txts email nothing i check my file free all the time. My friends say i've changed. Me and a friend got in an argument yesterday cuz he said some flip Motorola with a touch screen (idk the name) he owns is better than my 8900. I was seriously offended at that!

yea i get mad when people say my 8330 is just a phone but they wanna see it. i'm like HELL naw get ya ragged A** phone lol. I seem to care about things that the phone offers more like navigation and surfing the web more