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Blackberry manners a matter of culture

I’ve been spending some quality time today with the instruction manual for my new Blackberry. I don’t understand a word of it.

Apparently, this Blackberry can do amazing things. I wouldn’t know; I’ve never read a cellphone manual I could understand. The very helpful Rogers guy gave me a whirlwind three-minute Blackberry course Friday night when I acquired this little wizard of a machine, but neither of us believed for a minute I’d remember anything he showed me.

Why get one, then? Well, I had a Palm when I was in City Hall — in those days every minute of the day was scheduled. When I left, I figured I wouldn’t need any such device, so I reverted to a regular cellphone. I enjoy the comparative freedom of being my own boss, but there are times I’ve missed being connected, electronically speaking.

So when I lost my cell on the way  to emceeing a press conference last week, I thought I may as well get a more sophisticated device as a replacement.

The big thing about this is that when I enter a committee meeting now, I’ll fit right in with the rest of them who sit there at the table fooling with their Blackberries through the entire meeting. Blackberry etiquette is cultural. In Canada, it’s considered normal to do this, but completely rude to answer a call on your cell.

When Chinese delegations visit, they frequently stop in the middle of a conversation to answer a cellphone call. In their culture, this is considered perfectly alright. Though it’s the height of rudeness in Canada, being Canadians, we politely put up with it. We tend to try to go by other people’s rules, assuming they’re better than ours.

When I was signing my life away, and those of my wife and children, to a new cellphone contract Friday night so I could have my very own Blackberry, Bob Price of Radio NL happened to walk by the store. Seeing me inside, he stopped in for a chat. As it happens, Bob doesn’t have a cellphone of any kind.

Poor guy. He says he gets along happily without it, but you can’t always believe those radio guys. I’ll bet he feels completely out of place at a meeting.

About Mel Rothenburger (7710 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

6 Comments on Blackberry manners a matter of culture

  1. Mel Rothenburger // January 29, 2009 at 3:16 PM // Reply

    Well, Mr. Mayor, maybe we could have an in-camera meeting to discuss strategy. Mel.

  2. peter milobar // January 28, 2009 at 6:30 PM // Reply

    I could help you to Mel, but as you know I only like to type in secert code so I’m not sure I would be much help

  3. markus ermisch // January 28, 2009 at 11:05 AM // Reply

    I suggest switching to a BarackBerry. Very userfriendly and it doesn’t require batteries. It runs on hope.

  4. Lianne Milobar // January 28, 2009 at 9:40 AM // Reply

    Hi Mel, I can help you as well, I had a Blackberry for years, but just switched to the iPhone!

  5. Mel Rothenburger // January 26, 2009 at 7:34 PM // Reply

    Thanks, Kevin, I might take you up on that. Maybe I’ll send you an email or text you on the Blackberry, if I can figure out how to do it. Mel.

  6. If you ever need a hand with yours Mel, don’t hesitate to give me a shout 🙂

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