Perhaps one of the highlights of the BlackBerry Messenger application is the ability to send out broadcast messages for selected contacts to read. This powerful tool allows us to share news, important updates or invites to family and friends at one time. But as the line from a movie goes: With great power comes great responsibility. More often than not, we find ourselves getting inconvenienced by unsolicited messages that some users have the audacity to put out. With BlackBerry Messenger now becoming as universal as Facebook or Twitter, social media etiquette plays a very important role in how we use this important communication tool.
Below are three important guidelines to consider before broadcasting a BBM:
1. Will this help or waste somebody’s time? Most of the time, we wake up to a dozen messages, emails and notifications from our colleagues, friends and family everyday. And with all the things we have to deal with (office work, events, meetings, invites, errands, etc), the last thing anybody would really like to read are messages that say: “forward this to activate new smileys. This works!”
Obviously, a thinking, rational person would know that forwarding a message like that doesn’t make the smiley icons updated. To stretch the issue a little bit, if RIM does send out updates, they will do so on either the App World or their website.
The situations range from updating smiley icons, to unfounded news, to unsolicited updates of your life (something in the line of: “Hello guys, I’ve had my lunch. How about you?”) Before we send out these messages, perhaps it would really be good to STOP a little bit, and ASK: Is this something that the recipient would really NEED to know?
Now, if you are one of those guys who really would like to use BBM as your Twitter to tell everyone that you’ve had your lunch or your dinner–whatever the case may be– you can use the STATUS option on your profile to let everybody know what you’ve done or are currently doing. You can even go as far as putting in your STATUS how you feel about something or someone. This way, you are not intruding on anyone with your unsolicited messages or updates.
Remember, when the red LED light blinks on a BlackBerry, we are already taking a minute or two of somebody else’s precious time to read these messages or emails. We had better make the message worth those two minutes of his or her life.
2. Will this affect my outward image and credibility? Sending out a broadcast message can also be a powerful marketing tool for your business or endeavour. This is how we can build a network of would-be business partners or potential clients. Every time somebody reads our messages, we are consciously or unconsciously being scrutinized by the recipient. The person on the other end gets an impression of our intelligence, perhaps of our upbringing and even our education. The words, the language, the expressions that we use create an image of who we are.
Imagine, if a person puts out a message about events or a certain business venture, this person comes across as someone who is career-driven or goal-oriented. He comes across as someone professional, perhaps reliable and smart.
Now, if a BBM contact sends out his grudges and complaints about somebody or something for everyone to read, what values does it say about this person? Do you trust someone who says bad things about another person to everyone in his/her contact list? Does bad-mouthing anyone publicly create credibility?
Remember, social media allows us to freely communicate with virtually anyone in the world. Whether that be your next-door neighbor, your boss, your enemy, your best friend, your colleague or your competition, a Hollywood star or the president– the power to express is everyone’s birthright. As human beings, however, we are equipped with more than just the ability to communicate; we are also equipped with a brain placed on top of our head to make us beings that STOP and THINK before we act. Let that same brain work for us every time we click the send button on our broadcast messages.
3. What will I gain in sending this message? I guess this is a basic question everyone needs to ask himself or herself before sending put these broadcast messages. To corporate users, obviously broadcast messages allow them to efficiently work with colleagues and clients, especially when calling out for emergency meetings or round-table discussions. We have to remember, however, that a lot of BlackBerry users now are the general consumers who want to regularly get connected with friends, family, and even casual acquaintances.
Now, we send out messages to people because there is something that we would like them to know; there is something that we would like to get across. Whether we want to let them know that there is a birthday party we’d like them to be present in, or that there is an important news that has just come up, these messages that we send out mean something.
But more than being able to tell them what we want, perhaps the more important aspect of communication is the benefit we will gain in sending out a broadcast message. Is the message going to help you invite a dozen friends to a party or an event? Is it going to gain me friends? Is it going to help me make a good impression to my contacts?
Remember, an action yields a result. How we use the BBM broadcast message capability will always depend on what type of result (or consequence) we want to get. If we use it with a lot of responsibility, chances are we get positive results. If we use it otherwise, we only defeat the purpose of BlackBerry Messenger, which is to connect and communicate with the ones who matter.
Always remember: Broadcast Responsibly!
(Image used from Google. No copyright infringement intended in the use of this photo)