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Are BlackBerry users the new smokers?

Same title here as is the article we’re referencing - it was just too good. In a pretty solid article today from USAToday, BlackBerry users are likened to cigarette smokers in terms of annoyance and being inconsiderate.

The author goes so far as to say that she won’t even meet up with their friends if they’re toting around their devices. She’s just jealous. Check out the article here. Do you really think so, folks? I mean, sure… maybe there’s the slightest of slight comparisons to be made, but this is almost as ridiculous as RIM’s new lawsuit.

“…the smoking analogy is most apt because 20 years ago, a person would have been able to light up in an elevator. Smoking was socially acceptable in all manner of venues until non-smokers got the nerve to push back. As with mobile technology, what made smoking so obnoxious was that it was addictive and compulsive, blinding smokers to their impact on non-smokers. Addiction makes us selfish. We don’t want to confront that unpleasant truth, so it takes a lot of push-back to admit that we’re being offensive.”

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3 Responses to “Are BlackBerry users the new smokers?”

  1. L. M. Lloyd
    December 12th, 2006 09:45

    I am so sick of this whole BlackBerry/Mobile/Online “addiction” nonsense! It is just another aspect of the whole annoying Neo-Luddite sentiments that have been getting stronger and stronger as newer technologies become more prevalent in the lives of average (non-geek) people.

    Have you ever seen an article talking about landline phone addiction? People depend on that every day to get along in the modern world, yet no one suggests that the use of a landline phone is a sign of some sort of compulsive disorder. How about car addiction, or Fax addiction, or electricity addiction, or TV addiction? These are all technologies that fundamentally changed the nature of our society, just like video games, online communities, instant messaging, mobile phones, and PDAs are now. However, unlike those other technologies from different eras, a great number of people today think that there must be something ‘wrong’ with anyone who behaves differently than people behaved when they were growing up. I suppose the author of the article would have been just fine had the person she was having dinner with would have interrupted her to ask the waiter for a pen and piece of paper to give her a phone number like a “normal” person? I mean, by her own telling of the story, she had asked him for someone’s number, and then found it rude when he emailed her the information she wanted!

    Thus, perfectly healthy behaviors making use of new technologies suddenly become “inconsiderate’ or “addictions.” It is completely asinine. Even suggesting it is “inconsiderate” is like saying that someone must not like you because they won’t take the time to walk up five flights of stairs with you, instead letting their personal relationships get ruined by their sick addiction to that newfangled elevator thing. In my opinion, people like this author are just intimidated by new technology, and then project their feelings of inadequacy onto the person who is using the technology that intimidates them. As such, they assume the person is specifically using the technology out of some lack of consideration, or mean spirited desire to make them feel bad, as opposed to just seeing it as a normal occurrence.

  2. Thought
    December 12th, 2006 19:32

    I agree with Lloyd…all of this BlackBerry bashing is getting ridiculous. In fact, I’ll have more to say on that in my column tomorrow…

    However, I will also add that the analogy to smoking is ridiculous…I don’t think we’ll see people getting terminal forms of cancer from BB usage, like with smoking.

    What made smoking so “obnoxious” was that it literally destroys the tissues in the lungs of those around, not that it’s “addictive and compulsive.” If people had wanted to twiddle their thumbs as a habit, no one would have complained.

  3. L. M. Lloyd
    December 13th, 2006 03:37

    I personally stayed away from the whole cancer angle, because to be quite honest, that is more of a hot potato than I think is really warranted by the article.

    There are plenty of people out there who are already saying they expect mobile phone manufacturers to be the next “big tobacco” of legislation. I have heard plenty of debate about how mobile phone companies are paying for reports to play down the danger (much like tobacco companies did in the past), just as I have heard plenty of debate about how the dangers of second hand smoke may have been overstated for political purposes.

    Depending on your views on these debates, it could very well be argued that the two are a lot closer than some might think. However, what I think we can all agree on is that there is no physical way use of a mobile phone could ever be physically addictive like nicotine is.

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