Monday, September 24, 2007

BlackBerry User = Lower IQ = Bad For My Career?


I thought that by having and using my BlackBerry I would become more productive, more innovative and especially smarter...never dumber.

I ran across this article in BusinessWeek by Sylvia Ann Hewlett titled, "Is Your Blackberry Lowering Your IQ?"

Check out this quote from the article...Researchers at Kings' College London University have found that, across the board, communication overload causes a professional's IQ to drop 10 percentage points. It damages a worker's performance by reducing mental sharpness. The drop in IQ is more significant among men than women.

So, what's your take on these numbers?

For those of you out there that are a BlackBerry user like myself would you agree that your IQ is dropping because you are overloaded by the amount of time you communicate on your BlackBerry?

Hmmm...I don't think that I'm convinced just yet...

Here's another quote that made me think a little more about the concept...IT consultant Linda Stone has shown how "continuous partial attention" can be seriously dysfunctional. When a professional is bombarded by multiple information streams it becomes hard to sustain focus. Innovation and creativity suffer—as does the quality of decision making. How good can your feedback be when your words of wisdom are sandwiched between intense backhand drills?

After that quote I can start to see where Linda Stone is coming from but if I had to choose between having a BlackBerry and not having a Blackberry I would choose having one every time. I'll definitely use my BlackBerry for sending and receiving e-mails when needed but one of the biggest ways I use it is to just keep up to date of what's going on in the office when I'm not physically there.

So, for you BlackBerry users out there, let me hear what you have to say...


Anonymous said...

I agree that having the tool is better than not having the tool-especially on the road. I also found that managing the inbox was taking away from seeing and talking with clients, so I have my team email me when they need action from me versus a CYA.

Anonymous said...

Unlike caffeine, nicotine, alcohol or heroin, I just don't understand the "addictive" nature of using a Blackberry. Could it be that the human brain gets accustomed to being interrupted and finds it difficult to regain the discipline of concentration?

Anonymous said...

The BB is a great business tool. I love the simplicity of having the email, calendar and contacts in one place with automatic sync to the home based server.

Of course you can misuse anything man creates, and lower your IQ while doing it.

I agree with you that it is a valuable career tool, a definite keeper.

Anonymous said...

Receiving over 100 work related emails and texts daily used to create exactly the partial attention deficit and information overload that you describe. For me the solution became simple, just turn the blackberry to silent mode. I now determine what the periodicity is going to be for reading and responding to messages, and my staff likes the fact that I am now fully present when in conversation with them. It took about a week to get over the withdrawal of feeling it vibrate in the holster every couple of minutes.

Anonymous said...

I agree that using anything that can interrupt you continuously is a negative on your work and thought performance. Using a blackberry incorrectly can cause "multi-task" overload with no focus or completion. Call it a crackberry or whatever you want I am keeping mine.

Southern said...

I found the distraction starting several years ago as IT systems started becoming widespread. I've had a BBerry a few years. I agree that the distraction affects concentration, thus developing a "use" strategy is important. It bothers me when others in a meeting are jumping between the meeting and the device. Putting it on silent should be required during meetings. We have become accustomed to responding continually and those sending messages (including myself I guess) have developed the expectation of quick responses. I think 9 out of 10 times, the response could wait and it wouldn't significantly affect the business decision.
We're not going to get rid of the BBerry. It's become part of the business tool. As an aside, I recently bought my wife and myself an iPhone. I use it for personal tasks, carry it on the weekend (the Berry stays with the briefcase on weekends) and appreciate the playful side of the device. Playful meaning the fairly good quality camera, ability to carry photos, access web information, music, etc. The conversations I have with people about the iPhone are lower key, we look at things, laugh about pictures or strike up conversations on topics that the BBerry and the way it is used, don't generate.

Anonymous said...

As a heavy BB user, I turn it to phone only and avoid vibrate. Then I can check it once in a while.

As for the IQ thing, I really don't think that is valid until more proof comes out.