In case you hadn’t heard, the world ended this week. Well, at least according to Blackberry users and abusers around the world who suddenly found themselves without service. And while buses continued to run, children still got dressed and went to school, the earth stayed on its axis – you wouldn’t think so to hear some of the wails of dismay from RIM clients.
‘When I leave the office, I can’t get check any of my email.’
‘I can’t google something on the fly. I do all my research at the last minute and I didn’t have access to the internet.’
‘I don’t know how to get in touch with anyone.’
‘I had to use the phone. It was horrible!’
This a sampling of the comments I’ve heard in news stories. People are genuinely distraught that they could not be wired to the internet for every minute of their day. Sure, they could still access the internet and their emails in the office – but not on the commute to the office!!!
IMHO, Blackberries have turned the world into micromanagers and I for one would be greatly relieved if everyone could take two steps back from whatever device hooks them to the internet, like a junkie to a drug, and think for just one minute about why this was such a catastrophe.
I’ll tell you why. It’s because they could not be part of every conversation and oversee every detail of their operations. If email is the seed of micromanaging, then handheld devices are the genetically modified super foods which wreak havoc on surrounding ecosystems.
I’ve been on a lot of planning committees lately and I am a daily witness to email micromanaging. It’s not just that people want to be kept abreast of developments by being cc’ed on emails – but they want to weigh in too. And cc’s are like bunnies. They multiply exponentially - bringing with them multiple new opinions. What happened to one or two people taking responsibility for something and having private conversations between the two of them (possibly even on the phone!)?
We are surrendering our privacy, individuality and the power and responsibility to make our own decision without even a fight.