Can’t Stop/Won’t Stop

I can count the number of people I text regularly on one hand.

“But Steph,” you may ask, “you are constantly on your BlackBerry. It’s practically an extra appendage!”

I don’t text. I BBM. And I BBM a heck of a lot more than I ever texted. My friends who have recently switched to the iPhone can certainly attest to this.

For those who aren’t familiar, BBM is BlackBerry’s answer to instant messaging with the added cache it being available only to BlackBerry users. It also appears to possess superior conversational abilities when compared to the now-outdated idea of texting. For those who think it’s too exclusive, that’s the point. It’s such a fantastic and unique benefit to having a BlackBerry and to coercing your friends into getting one.

Once you get hooked, it’s hard to go back.

(Photo courtesy of Desperate on Flickr)

A certain technophile friend of mine, who has tried everything from BlackBerry to iPhone to Google Nexus One has attempted to break her addiction many times. As expected, she always returns to her BlackBerry, even with the savvy and new features of the iPhone. For whatever reason, BBM always wins out over traditional text messaging and the iPhone’s iChat-format. It’s easier to connect, it’s easier to have a conversation and, for me anyways, it’s easier to break the ice with someone new.

Take, for example, the use of BBM in a new relationship, romantic, business, or otherwise.

With texting, you never know if the message went through.
With texting, you don’t know if the person has read the message yet.
With texting, you don’t know if they are in the process of responding.

BBM solves all of these problems, with the added benefit of being able to follow the conversation in real-time, interject without interrupting, and, for people like me, just feels like a lower-pressure way of contacting someone than a text message.

Yes, it may be about perception. Not everyone feels like a text message is a bigger deal than a BBM. But many, like me, feel like a BBM is a more casual and organic way to carry out a conversation using your mobile device. A favourite Tweep of mine even likened BBM to its computer-based predecessors, MSN and ICQ. I can’t help but agree.

So, is instant-messaging on your mobile device the way of the future? BlackBerry users are already connected 24/7, but what about the others? There are rumblings that Apple is looking to include a similar program on their iPhones, perhaps in an attempt to finally corner the market on mobile devices and turn the iPhone into a business centre rather than a gadget and mobile phone.

I don’t know about, you but until them I am sticking with my BlackBerry and running my life via BBM…and extending a big “Sorry, I’ll get back to you a bit slower than everyone else” to my friends who don’t use it.