Originally posted in the Huffington Post on November 8, 2012.
Confession: I’m completed addicted to my BlackBerry. As a working mom of three kids six and under in PR in Toronto, it has freed me from my desk and made me more productive than I ever imagined. In fact, my BlackBerry has almost made it too easy to manage the intersection between kids and work. In meetings, while running errands, at my kids’ school, on the side of the soccer field, on holiday, my BlackBerry lets me be just as available as if I were in the office.
And, as a Canadian, I’ve been cheering for RIM for ages. Even in the face of its issues, I have unwavering faith that RIM will pull through. After all, who can imagine a world without BlackBerry? Certainly not me.
But, something happened last week that stopped me in my tracks.
The firm that my husband works for issued a surprising edict: as of mid-2013, everyone at the company will be force-migrated to Android, Windows or iPhone devices. Everyone. After I got over my initial horror, it got me thinking.
Just as the explosive rise of QWERTY phones changed our lives, so could their fall. And, a world without them might not be as dire as I first thought.
Emails “sent by iPhone” or Android devices have one thing in common: they’re short. Very short. With few exceptions. No one bangs out an epic email after work on a touch screen device because it’s painful to type. And, those same messages are painful to read, often full of spelling errors or nonsensical auto-corrected text. As a result, after hours emails from colleagues with touch screen phones are almost always short and less frequent.
Is it too much to dream that the rise of touch screen phones might just stop me and my colleagues from catching up on work via epic emails sent at night or on the weekend from our respective couches? After all, it’s one thing to catch up on “work” email from your phone while you’re already on Facebook, Twitter and the like, it’s a whole other exercise to power up a laptop to type a “proper” email.
That work-from-anywhere ability that QWERTY phones first enabled seems to have created a culture of responding, even when a response isn’t warranted. I wonder if the race to respond first will slow down as Android and iPhone devices continue to gather momentum. Or, if it won’t slow down, perhaps at least the messages will be shorter and I’ll save time in having to respond.
Fewer QWERTY phones might just mean that I’ll start to get my evenings back. Or, at the very least, that I’ll stop interrupting others’.
Now, what will I do with all of that extra time?