Constantly Connected to your Crackberry…

My name is Ashley and I’m a Blackberry addict.
The first step to recovery is admitting the a problem yet I have no ambition to put down my phone for any length of time. This statement comes as no surprise to anyone who knows me or for that matter anyone who enjoys their PR career.

In today’s world breaking news is dispersed instantaneously those who of us who work in the communication world, we’re basically required to be connected to their audience so no one gets left behind the news cycle because let’s face it, you snooze you loose.

So our Blackberry (or iPhone) becomes our constant companion in all our worlds – personal, work or internships. As an intern I leave my beloved Blackberry tucked safely in my desk for most of the day except when I leave for a meeting, lunch or intern event – which is pretty often at Discovery – just to know what time it is or in case there’s an emergency. Okay, okay so it’s not just a security issue although I do have a tinge of separation anxiety when it’s away from me.

It’s no joking matter, but I feel at home in a Communications department where everyone else travels meeting to meeting with their phone in hand. Even during meetings people are clicking and scrolling away. When I walk into an elevator, 7 out of 10 people  (yes, including myself) are looking at their phones. As an intern I know better than to use my phone for personal communication but having one does make me feel a part of the team. I’ve found “my people” – good or bad.

We may not be able to escape this need for constant communication but we need to manage it better just as we multi-task all other aspects of our life!

I heard from a friend the other day his office discussed a possible Blackberry/iPhone ban during meetings. I can only imagine the horror! At the cusp of the smart phone craze, researchers employed by Hewlett Packard predicted a rise in “infomania” – or people who constantly check email and text messages will have a 10-point fall in their IQ. That was a few years before our addiction worsened.

Over the holiday weekend I’m going to try out a few tips I’ve learned around the office from other multi-tasking maniacs. I know I’m just an intern but I want to step away from my Crackberry before I become an actual employee and be required to respond immediately.

1. Schedule phone to turn off at a specific time at night using the auto on/off setting.
2. Turn it on silent every so often. Yes you may hear phantom sounds. Get used to it.
3. Use some of those fancy functions where only calls/messages/calendar events from certain people make it through.
4. Take a walk without your phone. It’s such a freeing feeling.
5. Actually call someone (besides your non-technology savvy parents or grandparents) vs. relying solely on written communication like texting/emailng/facebooking/BBMing
6. At least acknowledge your addiction.

Remember we’re just interns…we don’t need to respond seconds later. For now no one is paying us to respond to our friends, soon enough we’ll be responding to actual clients, bosses and fellow workers.

For now actually interact with people in your office!