My name is Maria, and I'm a Crackberry addict

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Yes, it's true.  It never used to be this way, until I was introduced into the wonderful world of the Blackberry.  Surely I can't be the only one with this addiction.  Who hasn't kept their Blackberry on the table during lunch.  Who hasn't slept with it right next to their bed at night.  Must!!  GUILTY ON ALL COUNTS!!!!!!!

Ever see people at a restaurant tapping away at their phones and not even talking to each other?  I think the extent of my addiction hit home when I was having lunch with my husband.  The Blackberry went off and so did I - out into Blackberry la la land.  He might as well have been talking to the wall because from the moment of contact with the Blackberry, I became completely disengaged from the conversation.  As he nicely pointed this out to me, the light bulb went off.  While the technology of the phone is great...we can work, answer e-mails and always be connected, what about the human element?

It was at that point that I put the phone away (I think I may have shed a tear) and turned my attention back to the conversation.  No one can dismiss the element of human contact and connection as being important.  So what can we do?

When in a meeting, please don't check your device while someone is talking.  It shows the speaker that you really couldn't care less about what they have to say.  Engage in the conversation.  The meeting will probably move quicker if everyone is present and in the moment.

Check the Blackberry periodically, not every few minutes, and keep responses to a minimum.

Just put it away while driving.  It becomes too tempting to pick up and answer at every buzz.  The e-mail will still be there when you reach your destination.....safely.

If you need to take a call, as we all do at times, please excuse yourself and take it outside.  No one really wants to hear your conversation.

By trying some of these steps, we can all move forward into a happier, Blackberry tomorrow.

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