The Blackberry as narrative tool

I’ve just finished reading Lucy Kellaway’s "Who moved my blackberry?" a hilarious send-up of the Bb workplace that utilizes blackberry-generated e-mails to tell the story of Martin Lukes, a hard-charging, power-hungry executive who is totaly clueless about his dysfunctional digital manners.

Lukes sends notes to his personal assistant that are demeaning and highly offensive. He sends others to his two sons that try to make him appear hip, but come across quite differently. He also inadvertently sends a love note to his comely, new PA that goes out to the 37,000 employees of the entire company by mistake. There’s much, much more and the use of the blackberry e-mail to tell the story is oh so cool and different.

Btw, Lukes’ gaffe of sending a personal love note to the entire staff sent shivers up and down my spine as I recalled several such incidents from the early days of e-mails. On one occasion, I had sent an inappropriately worded e-mail to a couple of fellow workers commenting on a particuarly abusive client. Needless to say, the client was inadvertently copied on the e-mail. The fallout wasn’t pretty. Another time, one of our crack account managers felt it appropriate to share a highly risque e-mail joke with a major, blue-chip Fortune 500 client.

The backlash still has that particular individual shaking in his boots.

E-mail communications have become part of the overall image of an individual and an organization. How we frame our e-mails reflects directly on our professionalism. Or lack thereof. I’ve seen any number of typo-riddled cover notes and resumes sent my way that I’ve immediately delated. On the other hand, carefully-worded e-mails can impress me.

Reading "Who moved my blackberry?" should be required for anyone in today’s workplace. It not only shows how e-mails can be misinterpreted, but can actually damage relationships. It’s also funny as hell.

9 thoughts on “The Blackberry as narrative tool

  1. Your comical remarks on E mail rings true as well. I find it so trying to read an on going diarrhea of the fingers correspondence without punctuation and poor grammar. Not to mention misspellings.

  2. Well, in my defense, it wasn’t totally risque. She thought it to be, but it was really a web site for a rap group. Regardless, I only made that mistake once.
    I’m not sure how she is doing, but I imagine not so good since her own company used their competitor’s technologies vs. their own.
    That joke you and Ed played on my following it was hysterical, btw.

  3. quote “I could do a series of blogs on bizarre neologisms coined by clients, present and past.”
    Now you’re talking, Rep.

  4. Jimbo: yup, your e-mail was the one I was thinking of. How are you and Ginny getting along these days. As for the Creovation terms that Lucy Kellaway comes up with, they are indeed hilarious. I could do a series of blogs on bizarre neologisms coined by clients, present and past.

  5. ’tis indeed a very amusing read. Lucy Kellaway is a genius. Catch your weekly installment of Martin Lukes on the FT’s site, here: (paywall). I particluarly enjoy the neologies (there’s a word for ya!) such as ‘integethics’ and ‘creovation’ – remind you of anyone, Rep?

  6. It sounds like a hilarious book. Blackberries make bad email etiquette look like bad email etiquette on crack. Sentences get even shorter, spelling is atrocious (where’s the *&$# spell-check?) and it’s all too easy to send to the wrong person. I myself have recently meant to send two emails to the Stephanie in our office, only to have them go to a former client who’s still in my contacts. Well, was in my contacts.

  7. Repman- I enjoyed reading today’s entry! Reminds me of what my career counselors at Duke would stress over and over again- “Never Ever have a confrontation with someone via email! If you have to do it, say it over the phone or in person.” While the situation will cease to exist, if you have a record of it, the incident will always be remembered!