By Scott Kirsner
ESPN doesn't understand the excitement, and Fox Sports doesn't grasp
the inherent danger. The New England Sports Network simply can't
appreciate the technique and strategy.
That's why none of those channels carried live coverage of the
first-ever @Large BlackBerry Invitational Tournament, held last week.
Their mistake. This would've been a ratings bonanza. Who cares about
baseball or golf when you could be watching a middle manager
surreptitiously typing 60 words-per-minute under the conference table
during a plodding PowerPoint presentation?
Nearly 50 entrants vied for the grand prize: a mention in print, and
the right to add a line to one's e-mail signature boasting, 'Winner of
the 2005 @Large BlackBerry Invitational.' Proceeds from the
competition went to the American Association for the Prevention of
Thumb Tendinitis, a painful affliction that sadly ends the careers of
many talented BlackBerry users. (Perhaps you'll donate, as there were
no proceeds this year.) Two observations led me to launch the
tourney.The first was that people with hand-held e-mail devices tend
to get obsessed with responsiveness. (I use the term BlackBerry to
encompass devices like the PalmOne Treo and the T-Mobile Sidekick,
which I'm sure infuriates the legal department at Research In Motion,
the Canadian company that makes BlackBerrys.) They volley back answers
mere milliseconds after the sender has asked the question.The second
observation was that as people have been getting more comfortable with
their devices, responses have been getting longer.