Miss Cyber Manners Checks Her Crackberry

Have you heard? Crackberry is now a word.

Webster’s Dictionary defines the noun as “a person who uses a Blackberry addictively or obsessively or the device when used this way.” Webster’s doesn’t just add words to the dictionary in a wanton manner.

A new study by Robert Half Management Resources finds that 69 percent of senior executives believe it’s okay to crack out on a BlackBerry during a meeting.

But be careful. The trick is to know when it is acceptable to check your BlackBerry.

If you nod at your palm too soon, you may offend someone. Or worse, it could be a career-limiting move if you earn the ire of your boss.

“The other day I was at a lunch meeting and every time this guy’s BlackBerry would vibrate he would check it and on a couple of occasions, took time to respond,” says Samuel Shapiro, a Los Angeles-based attorney. 

“Is my time any less valuable than his such that I had to sit there while he checked his email?”

Whether you are in a meeting or at a lunch, wait until things wrap up or the check arrives to check your e-mail.

“Professionals who may have to check e-mail during gatherings should alert their hosts and be as unobtrusive as possible,” advises Paul McDonald, executive director of Robert Half Management Resources. 

A cottage industry of Crackberry recovery programs is springing up. The Wall Street Journal published a 12-step program that is more serious than funny. At the Sheraton Chicago Hotel, the manager will gladly lock up a guest’s Blackberry so that addicts can get a good night’s rest. (In a similar vein, you don’t see Las Vegas hotel managers locking up their guest’s wallets.)

The April Blackberry service outage caused many users to confront their compulsion head-on.  But rather than switch it off, some enterprising addicts launched a site for those of their kind, called, appropriately, crackberry.com.

It is increasingly understood that many people need persistent communication with the office, loved ones and clients. But don’t try to flaunt how busy and important you are by frequently scrolling through your messages or putting your thumb on the wrong wheel when you’re driving.

Otherwise, you may be remembered as something worse than just a Crackberry.