Monday, February 28, 2011

BB Rules of Engagement...


It's safe to say that almost everyone reading this is familiar with what that word above means... and if you aren’t… welcome to Earth! The Blackberry is one of the most common and most used communication devices today among young people. I love Apple as much as anyone, but let's not even get into the #teamiPhone versus #teamBlackberry debate. Until you can BBM with an iPhone, we're not hearing it.
This post is mainly directed at current BB users across the globe. I think the time has come for us to establish a simple set of rules for people who choose to use this device (I'm sure some of these rules will not work only for BB's. Feel free to use where applicable for any other smartphones).

1) Broadcast Messages - I figure we should start here because this might be the singular MOST ABUSED feature on the Blackberry device. Ladies and gentlemen, there's an occasional need to Broadcast a message to some or all of your contacts... however I must stress the word OCCASIONAL. It is supposed to be used sparingly, and only when it is important; infact, let's break broadcast messages into three permission-categories. Yes, No and Maybe.

YES: Broadcast Messages that are permissible SPARINGLY, include (but are not limited to) the following contexts: “Please check out my business/website/Product”, “Vote for someone for this competition”, and the occasional Breaking News Fact that you need to share (but which you have verified) e.g. the Deaths of Michael Jackson and Da Grin. RIP.

Spam –
You should have to be smart to own a smart phone. For goodness sake, I beseech you to realize once and for all, that you pay a certain amount of money for BB service every month. Please note, this is ALL you will EVER have to do to show the Blackberry server you are active. I must emphasize that THERE WILL NEVER BE A MESSAGE THAT YOU MUST SEND TO ALL YOUR CONTACTS OR RISK DELETION. EVER. EVER. EVER. Every couple of months, the same stupid spam resurfaces, and the same people fall for it over and over again. This nonsense must stop.

Religious (or superstitious) Threats – “Forward this message to 10 people or else blah blah blah”.

Random greetings like “happy Sunday”, “happy New Month”, “Happy Monday”, “Goodmorning everyone”, etc. While we can appreciate that most of these have good intentions, they generally just come across as annoying. You don’t walk into a building and yell Happy Sunday/Goodmorning/etc on a loudspeaker to every occupant. The same principles should be applied the next time you have that urge to broadcast this.

Random facts about your day like “I’m about to board a plane”, “Just waiting for take off”, “Just Landed”, “About to have lunch”, “what Movie should I watch?”, etc. I shouldn’t have to explain this. Just stop.

SERIAL BROADCASTING: please note that sending one broadcast per day is too much, even if it falls under the YES category. A couple per week is plenty. No matter how important the message is to you, the chances that we want a broadcast from you every hour, or every day, are slim to none. Again, you just come off as annoying. Failure to adhere to this can and will result in your being deleted.

Musicians, Managers and their Entourages: It’s okay to send a broadcast message every once in a while about your new single/album/video. It’s NOT okay to send one every time the song is playing on Radio, or the Video is on TV. It’s also not okay to abuse the privilege by sending the same messages repeatedly in a short amount of time. One or two is enough. Trust me we saw it the first time.

The occasional Joke that is REALLY funny. The danger with Jokes is that these days, many people have MANY contacts. So when you get the same joke 5 or 10 or 50 times, it’s annoying. So whatever joke you choose to share, please make sure it’s original, relatively new, or so damn hilarious that we won’t mind seeing it repeatedly.

Traffic or Emergency Alerts: These are always sent with good intentions, so we appreciate the thoughts behind them. However, too many times, there are no quantifiable measures in the messages, so they become spam. For instance, if there is a major roadblock (or an emergency situation), please also include the DATE AND TIME that this is occurring. I’ve gotten the same traffic/armed-robbery alerts for a week from different contacts… it’s either people are just resending the same messages days after the unfortunate incident occurred, or we’re witnessing record breaking traffic/robbery times. No armed robbery lasts for a week. Even Anini wasn’t that brave (inside joke to my Nigerian Friends).

2) Display Names
Your display name is totally under your control; feel free to call yourself whatever you like; it is your right as a blackberry owner. However, please be considerate of some of us who are trying to get a hold of you, but do not realize you’ve now spelt your name in Arabian or Greek Symbols. Some of us have a lot of contacts, and it’s really annoying when we’re trying to find you, only to discover you’ve changed your display name from.. say… Jane… to Jane spelt in Chinese, or “My luvlies”, or “a woman’s heart is a deep ocean of secrets – Mexico – madly in luv”. Henceforth, please try to ensure that your display name at least contains the name we know you by, in some form that is type-able when we try to search for you. Please note that the examples I listed above are actually 100% real, I did not make them up. Also, we realize that everyone can re-name contacts; but we shouldn’t have to do it just to keep track of you. Afterall, it’s just easier to delete your over-expressive self.

3) BBM Add Requests
The BBMessenger should not be mistaken for Facebook/Myspace/Twitter. Your BB Pin is actually specific to your phone, and thus should be viewed more like a phone number. It is private and should only be given out with your consent. You also probably shouldn’t attempt to add people who don’t know you and haven’t directly given you permission to. If you’re interested in someone, it’s always better to get their phone number directly from said-person, rather than to stumble on it somehow and call them out of the blue. The same principles should be applied with Pin Sharing.

4) Contact Deletion
People delete contacts for a bunch of reasons. Maybe they have too many contacts and are trying to clear space by removing people they don’t keep in touch with. Maybe they are tired of the 5,000 broadcast messages you send per week. Maybe they just don’t want too many people, or just you specifically, on their BB anymore. It’s okay to delete, and to be deleted. Times change; contact lists do as well. NO harm, no foul. There are many more people to chat with.

5) PING’s!!!
A conversation should NEVER be started with a PING!!! It is supposed to be used as a tool to gain attention when someone is not reading his/her messages. The proper protocol is to send one or two messages and THEN PING when your messages have not been read. Not the other way around. I realize this might not be a big deal to everyone, but it’s just… chat courtesy… if you will. It’s like typing in CAPS LOCK. It just feels like you’re shouting on line. Not necessary, and annoying.

There are many more rules we can add, and we may choose to revise this list as time goes on, but hopefully this is a good start to a more pleasurable experience for us all. Please spread the word. And Delete a Serial Broadcaster today.


Banky W. and other like-minds.

PS: Sooner or later, we’ll have to do a “Rules of Engagement” for Twitter and Facebook. Stay tuned. :o)~

PPS: Please never take me too seriously in these matters. I'm kinda just kidding. Kinda. But it's food for BBthought. I didn't mean to get anyone upset or offended. Just having fun AND trying to reduce the number of broadcasts I get everyday. Love y'all!