Why I left my BlackBerry

As of a month ago, I have officially renounce the ties with my BlackBerry. And I’m never turning back.

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As of a month ago, I have officially renounce the ties with my BlackBerry. And I’m never turning back.

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I remember it was late in 2008, I was persuaded by my friends to own a BlackBerry. I have never thought that I needed a BlackBerry smartphone, because back then, I was happy with my own simple Sony Ericsson flip cellphone – I only needed to SMS, call, and occasionally check my email via my provider’s mobile connection.

To be frank, one of the reasons why I didn’t want to own a “BB” is because I don’t want to be mainstream, I wanted to be different. Alas, In Indonesia, as a BBC news article once reported, if you don’t have the right gadget, you are practically outside the social circle.

My friends pleaded that, “come on, get a BlackBerry. Nowadays people ask for your PIN number (for BlackBerry Messenger), asking for your phone number is so outdated”.

Shortly after that plea, I was sitting in front of an ITC counter selling my phone to trade it with an entry-level BlackBerry Curve. Little do I know that this was only the beginning of my marriage with a gadget, and how it has altered the social urban interaction in Indonesia.

I always believe that Indonesians love to chat, that’s why they love the BBM so much. It’s quick, it’s useful to send pictures or voice memos, and you can have group chats so your group members can know what’s going on with each other. Most of all, it’s free because it’s included in your BlackBerry internet service.

This is where it starts.

You constantly check on the gadget as soon as the light blinks.

You then see people in Indonesia – in the big cities at least – sitting in a table, having drinks or dinner, but their eyes are all glued on their tiny BlackBerry screen. No meaningful conversation because their ‘real’ conversation happens on the bubbles of the BBM chats.

What I notice with people having this phenomena is that there is an enormous lack of willpower. Why can’t you just put down your phone whenever someone is talking in front of you? The things in your smartphone can wait a while, but the time that you spend with that person might not.

I think information and communication technology is great because it can keep you connected all the time, but for me I realize that it only made human connection more valuable.

I have now switched to an Android smartphone because compared to the BlackBerry, in terms of features, the BlackBerry is a dinosaur. Who knows, it might become like the next Nokia because they were stuck with the Symbian for so long.

When I left my BlackBerry, I notice that I only have numbers of people whom I am really in touch with. Believe me, I have lots of PINs of people who have added me on BBM, but never had a single conversation with. The ones who irritates me are those who gives me broadcast messages or are constantly “checking contacts – ignore please”.

Hello? If you’re still in contact with me you don’t need to check it.

Perhaps I’m old-school, but the thing with phone numbers are, there are costs associated with making a phone call or an SMS to that person. Thus, there is a certain level of ‘sacrifice’ that you’re willing to make to be in touch with that person.

You want free stuff? Email, Skype, Yahoo! Messenger, GTalk, Hotmail, Direct Message on Twitter, on Facebook, whatever. Provided that you have an internet connection – which have costs also in the end.

I agree that the BlackBerry is good for office use, be it for bosses to get a hold of their associates or clients to check on the progress of their projects with their consultants, you name it. However, I’ve decided that unless my job require me to have a BlackBerry, I myself am not obliged to have one.

8 thoughts on “Why I left my BlackBerry”

  1. Try WhatsApp!!! much nicer than BBM (although I don’t own a BlackBerry but merely from other people’s experience – for example the light doesn’t blink everytime someone send a msg/group msg).

    I’m still in awe over how popular blackberry is in Indonesia, and all to do with free BBM! I suppose over here, most people have phone contracts and these days most contracts will give you unlimited texts.

    1. WhatsApp is not exactly free, because it is for a year but afterwards you have to pay to use their services. The good thing about WhatsApp is that it allows chats similar like the BBM but it can crossover platforms, i.e. from BB to an Android, iPhone and Nokia. Hence, ending the monopoly of BBM from the BlackBerry.

      By “here”, you mean the UK? Yes, in other countries it is common for providers to give free SMS for their clients, but I’m not sure whether that applies in Indonesia. One thing that I’ve never clearly figured out is the confusing tariffs for telecommunication services by mobile providers in Indonesia. Clearly they have made a profit out of this information asymmetry.

      1. I’m not aware of the fees – it cost 99 cents/79 pennies to download the app and afterwards it just uses the same internet data plan that you use for email and web browsing. Yup whatsapp is a cross-platform messaging app and not only that, it can send messages, images, and videos!

        And as long as you get wi-fi access you can use it when travelling, very useful for trips abroad when you want to turn off 3G. I used it a lot to get in touch with friends and colleagues during my Boston trip.

  2. this article gives a tremendously bright light-bulb above my head. why did I continue to pay Rp 99,000,-/month for unlimited package, while every morning I’m busy deleting spams (such as the irritating checking contacts) and hoax messages..

    I don’t use my BB for things other than BBM, Twitter, and of course the basic telephony (making & receiving calls), and sending SMS to people who don’t have a BB..

    But regarding the anti-social effects of it, I guess (and hope) I’m not infected. Every afternoon once I’m home, I immediately switched the profile to only make a sound if someone called/sms. No BBM, no Twitter, no facebook, and no e-mail sound -or light- dragging me to my BB.

    But now that I read this, I began to have curiosity about android as well… 😀

    1. I would assume that once people figure out that the Android system is much better compared to the BlackBerry, Android phones would be the next craze Indonesians will fall for (leaving the BB behind). The good thing is there’s plenty of models out there and not limited to one company only, i.e. HTC, Samsung, LG, Sony Ericsson, etc.

  3. I was thinking of saying ‘adios’ to my blackberry too..but I never had the guts to do so.

    Now I just read your article..and damn, everything you wrote here is so true. I realized I’ve become one of those Blackberry-crazed users..excited whenever my phone blinks.. 😀

    Thanks for this great article!

  4. You don’t want to be mainstream, and want to be different? Are you gonna quit Facebook also?

  5. Gee, I so agree with you. I don’t have BB and I’m hell bend proud of it.

    It ticks me off to the highest level of heaven when during a chat with my friends, a blink was heard and she flashed her BB in front of my nose and dropped all subject related to our previous talks.

    The things is with Indonesian, I think at some point a miss conception of communication is happening. They prefer a long term communication within a small LCD monitor than the huffing and puffing chat mate who’s sitting right across you ready to chunk the stupid gadget at the nearest fountain. And they’re severely in tune with the gadget with dear life as if it’s the next holy book.

    Can I hug you for ditching your BB? Yes I’m serious 😀

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