I joked about the Blackberry outage last week, even getting picked up on the Wall Street Journal Marketbeat blog where many of the Crackberry, pingneedy untethered had gathered to commisserate their untetheredness.
Over the weekend, The New York Times went deep on the story, with reporter Matt Richtel explaining that the need to be connected was a behavior "fueled by powerful social motivators."
"Interaction with a device delivering data gives a feeling of validation, inclusion and desirability," he explained. "It's no fun to be the only un-pinged person in the room."
He also likened the Crackberry syndrome (my un-scientific phrase for the pingneedy) to a sort of "random reinforcement," that the fact that "you don't know when important news will come...means you will quickly engage in obsessive compulsive behavior."
Man...and all these years I just thought people were checking their email!
There could be a new Web 2.0 business model in there somewhere: A halfway house for Crackberry addicts, complete with thumb therapy and ping withdrawal psychoanalysis.
Of course, you could just trade one form of pingneediness for another. The Times also went deep (well, as deep as one can go) on Twitter, which I wrote about during my recent experience at SXSW.
You'll have to read the full article to get context, but Bruce Sterling's quote sizing up Twitter was worth the price of admission:
"Using Twitter for literate communication is about as likely as firing up a CB radio and hearing some guy recite 'The Iliad.'"
Only thing is, the CB radio never came with a global map where you could follow who was saying what from where with the equivalent of realtime digital GPS.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen (and reformed Crackberry addicts), there's now "Twittervision" which allows you to follow the global Twitterers realtime.
The fact that such a thing now exists is both simultaneously fascinating and disturbing.
I figure, at minimum, it will allow us all to keep an eye out for Odysesseus, just in case he does emit a tweet: He'll be the guy wearing the long toga and the well-exercised thumbs.
Me, I'll be sitting back basking in my pingless untetheredness.
And I'll keep the light on for you...but not the Blackberry.