So it seems that a couple of weeks ago, President Obama got his wish. No, I?m not talking about the inauguration. Shortly after that, the newly seated commander-in-chief got the green light to bring a smartphone into the Oval Office. The president joked that negotiations over this handset was 'some of the toughest diplomacy of my life. And that was just to keep my BlackBerry."
As far as presidential addictions go, compared to sex or lying, I think CrackBerry habits aren't too shabby. Too bad that less than a week after the Big O won the fight over his handheld, a technical snafu crashed the whole White House email system. So much for a tech-savvy administration.
Since then, you may have seen the Obama/BlackBerry topic beaten into the ground, but here's an interesting take: Computerworld, of all places, ran a commentary called, ?How President Obama's BlackBerry Threatens History.?
In the article, author Mark Everett Hall worries about the president's electronic communications going undocumented for posterity, and how this would rob future generations of valuable insights during this historical presidency. When a commenter said this argument would then extend to all electronic communication, Hall affirmed that ?my critique would entail all electronic media.? (Seriously? Why is this running in Computerworld? Seems like a strange platform for these concerns.)
Take it easy, Mr. Hall. The Associated Press and others already reported that the Presidential Records Act, for which the National Archives must preserve presidential records, would cover this technology. In fact, this act also covers Michelle Obama's BlackBerry. (In the past, other presidents checked their email and mobile phones at the White House door because those messages were subject to court or Congressional subpoenas, as well as public records laws.)
Recently, the New York Times covered the topic like a trendy accessory. Here's why: As part of the compromise to allay security concerns, President Obama must restrict communication to an extremely small list of contacts, including some senior staffers and a few personal friends. So, says the paper, having his email address has become the hot, new status symbol for Washington insiders. Controversial Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi doesn't have it, poor thing. And neither does Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates. What about Biden? Well, yes of course. Otherwise, that would be like telling Robin he couldn't use the batphone.
If I had Obama's email address, I think my first message would be: ?Sorry to hear about Daschle and Killefer :-( Keep trying. The uninsured among us are rooting for you!? After all, even the leader of the free world could use a pep talk now and then, right? (Actually, I wonder if that isn't one of the reasons he fought so hard to keep it.)
By the way ? If you?re curious about the presidential pick for smartphone-in-chief, CIO tagged it as the BlackBerry 8830.
Photos via CIO