You know that Ego of the Week question, “There are two types of people at Penn …”? Well, after a little social experiment I took part in these past couple of weeks, I would divide Penn into BlackBerry users and everyone else.
It’s no surprise that smartphones took over campus long ago, but I didn’t realize the ubiquity of the BlackBerry in particular until I suddenly found myself without. A switch from T-Mobile to AT&T had the Applephile within me jonesing for an iPhone. So, I happily indulged in what many consider the most beautifully designed device of the century.
And beautiful it is. But a few short days with said gadget made me realize something desperately disheartening: the iPhone is not an effective communication device. Well, at least not for the typical Penn student accustomed to her BlackBerried ways.
Don’t get me wrong, plenty of Penn kids have iPhones (and some even have those archaic not-so-smart phones), and they communicate just fine. But once you go Black(Berry), you never go back. Why? Let's break this communication thing down. BlackBerrys do something that other phones cannot: they push your email within seconds, send instant notifications and keep your battery humming from your 10 a.m. recitation through closing time at Smoke’s. Plus, we all know about the cult of BBM.
Conversely, these features that we CrackBerry addicts take for granted are not standard as far as the iPhone is concerned. Even when you do configure your settings and download apps to make your iPhone more BlackBerry-esque (read: more like a business phone, less like a mini computer), the battery dies within hours.
Maybe I’m being a little second-semester-senior-level dramatic, but here is some food for thought: will this obsessive desire to receive emails instantaneously and to communicate via rapid-fire BBM instead of relatively lackadaisical texting make my battery die? Penn is all about the go-go-go, and I (like most of you) have given in to it. When does it become too much? Going on my BlackBerry hiatus made me feel anxious and desperately disconnected — a ridiculous feeling considering that my alternative was what is perhaps branded the smartest of phones. As such, I returned to BlackBerryland within the week.
Undoubtedly, those who have iPhones (or any non-BlackBerry cellular device, for that matter) are scoffing right now. But I can pretty much guarantee they have never owned a BlackBerry. Nor have they felt guilty about not replying to an email or text within 90 seconds. And for that, I am jealous.