The BlackBerry As An Anti-Status Symbol

I was flipping through radio stations last night in the car, and managed to catch some of a BBC World Service show called Culture Shock. I tuned in at the end of a report on augmented cognition, which sounds a little freaky. Anyhow, they had on a “trendwatcher” to discuss it and a few other things, and he somehow worked BlackBerrys into the conversation. The devices used to carry a certain cachet — as in, “Ooh, look, I have a BlackBerry, because I’m a big shot” — but this guy said that people are increasingly shunning them, because they think carrying one now is a sign that you’re low enough on the totem pole that you have to be a slave to your email and constantly reachable by your superiors.

It sounds like the corporate world’s iteration of “that place isn’t cool, everybody goes there”, and if things are really playing out this way, it’s a bad sign for operators, RIM, device manufacturers and push email companies counting on the market to keep growing. On the other hand, there are lots more peons than upper management in the world. It’s sort of the opposite of what’s happened with mobile phones in genera. First they were generally status symbols for the wealthy and used by business big shots, and eventually they made their way into mainstream ubiquity — but those original adopters haven’t given them up.

Anyhow, my question is this — is anybody actually seeing this trend play out? I feel like I’m seeing more and more people using email devices all the time, so I think this guy’s prognostication is a bit premature. Equally possible is that he was just talking a load of BS, since he also said that mobile phones look like Star Trek communicators because all mobile phone designers watch Star Trek.

[tags]mobile, blackberry, push email[/tags]

—–>Follow us on Twitter too: @russellbuckley and @caaarlo