Maybe I’ve just got a complex about not getting enough replies from my clients, but I think I’ve observed a trend.
As the Blackberry has proliferated through the corporate world, I’ve noticed a reduction in the rate of responses to my email. I might send a client 10 emails in a week, and only get replies to 4 where I used to get 6 or 7. I try to be succint and pointed in my messages, and I don’t think I’ve gotten any worse at doing so.
Here’s my theory. Like any mobile device, the Blackberry’s input interface (the little keypad plus scroll wheel) isn’t great. Compared to a computer with a big monitor and an ergonomic keyboard, it’s downright awful. I’m not picking on the Blackberry here–this is true of any mobile device compared to a desktop or laptop computer. Blackberry users are therefore deterred from responding to email messages, particularly if they require longish, thoughtful responses.
Often when I check my email on my computer, I’m ready to reply to messages as well. That is, I’m in a receive-respond mode.
When Blackberry users check their email, maybe they’re mostly in a receive-only mode. The Blackberry has, in theory, extended the time lag between reception and response.
When Blackberry users are back at the office, they’ve got a pile of other distractions and have difficulty going back over the emails they’ve already received. In fact, it may feel like wasted time, because they’ve already mentally processed the messages.
I’ve never had a Blackberry or other mobile email device, and I’m not particularly keen to get one. Hey all you hoopy froods out there with mobile email thingies, what’s your experience been? Am I on to something or off my goard?