The BlackBerry is taking over WU

| Forum Editor

BBM (BlackBerry Messenger) just might be the most frequently used word that doesn’t show up in a classic dictionary. BBM is used as a verb (as in “I just BBMed her”), a noun (“Did you get my BBM?”) and even an adjective (“I’m her BBM friend”)–because simply being her friend is clearly not enough. As an iPhone user, I can’t help but think that the frenzy surrounding the BlackBerry and infamous BBM only complicates the lives of its die-hard fans.

Yes, for the stalker in all of us, it is very appealing to think that we might know if the recipient of our text has read the message. But what about the flip side? Many of my BlackBerry-addicted friends are caught in a battle between opening the text they so desperately want to read, and knowing that upon reading it they will be forced to respond. Is it not enough to intuitively know that everyone reads some texts and waits hours to respond? BlackBerry users have gone a step further to confirm their greatest suspicions about the boys who don’t reciprocate their love or the girls who don’t want to hang out.

BBM creators have found a way to even further intertwine users’ lives with technology. That we are already a phone-obsessed generation doesn’t give BlackBerry owners any reason to doubt their BBM lifeline, but the nearly unbreakable attachment between the phones and their doting users goes further than the typical criticism of technology-dependent college students.

Like with any other trend, many buy the BlackBerry because it seems that everyone else owns one. Specifically at Wash. U., the network of BlackBerries is growing, and while only a few years ago many might have been confused when confronted with “send me your pin,” today this request wouldn’t faze even those who haven’t converted to the BlackBerry world. The BlackBerry is infectious, and, most notably on a college campus, texting is no longer enough.

“I think sometimes it’s a social status-type thing,” said sophomore and BBM user Helen Bogen. “At lunch one day, we were comparing how many BBM friends we had. I felt like a loser because I only had 50.”

At this rate, the day when BBM is the only socially acceptable mode of communication may not be far off. “It’s easier!” BBMers tell me. “And you can see the entire conversation!” But I’m not convinced the convenience is worth the added complication. So to all of you who are tempted and sense yourselves slipping toward the BlackBerry for your next phone purchase, remember this: Maybe you’re feeling out of the BBM loop, but unless you want your private communication tracked by your overzealous friends, it may not be a loop you want any part of.

Alissa is a sophomore in Arts & Sciences. She can be reached via e-mail at [email protected]

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