Monday, November 17, 2008

Bye Bye Blackberry

As long as we're talking technology, I shuddered to learn that President Elect Obama will govern without his Blackberry. Security concerns and the Presidential Records Act point towards e-mail blackout for our next president.

It both ironic and sad that the first president to run a laptop on the big desk in the oval office won't have access to e-mail. Sunday's New York Times reported: "For years, like legions of other professionals, Mr. Obama has been all but addicted to his BlackBerry. The device has rarely been far from his side — on most days, it was fastened to his belt — to provide a singular conduit to the outside world as the bubble around him grew tighter and tighter throughout his campaign."

He gave up smoking. But Blackberry blackout may be even harder.


Alison M. Kilmartin said...

I recently read an article noting that President-elect Obama's favorite gum is Nicorette, assisting him in kicking the smoking habit. I wonder, is there a gum or patch out there that helps wean one off of a blackberry? There's money to be made in that market.

David Hutchinson said...

I am not a big fan of the Blackberry; they seem on the whole to encourage rather than facilitate communication (e.g. "I'm driving now; be there soon"). Nevertheless, it is a great thing to have to stay connected. The important question, then, is what is the value of being connected.

Apart from the reason the President is being unplugged, the holder of the office would seem, perhaps ironically, to be the person in the world least in need of a Blackberry. That is because he has only to think out loud and the thought will be conveyed wherever it needs to go, perhaps via the Blackberry of an aide. And incoming messages will reach him without delay. He is, in other words, shrouded in human Blackberries, each with their own actual Blackberry.

He can only get in trouble with his own (e.g. incoming message, circa 1996: "I'm driving now; be there soon. Wearing your favorite dress.")