FORTUNE (not shouting, that's the correct spelling of the mag) writer Anne Fisher was wondering about BlackBerry etiquette the other day. Her interest was sparked by an email from a recent law school grad reader who was curious about what amount of BlackBerry-checking is appropriate in social settings.
Who better to check with on etiquette issues than syndicated "Miss Manners" columnist Judith Martin?
Ms. Martin was far more tolerant of "social setting" BlackBerry use than you might expect.
"Of course it's very rude to be doing business during a social outing," Martin says. "But you should have nothing but sympathy for people who have no time off. It's very sad to have no time off."
"And of course you can't socialize with people who have no time off," she adds. "It's as if you were hanging around their desk talking to them while they were trying to get their work done. So leave them alone until they have worked their way up in their careers to the point where they have some time they can call their own."
So I guess what Miss Manners (shouldn't that be Ms. Manners, BTW) is saying is that BlackBerry use in social settings is OK for aspiring corporate ladder-climbers.
I agree. When you are ascending the ranks, you just can't afford to miss that BlackBerry message. But when you arrived, it is almost chic to be unavailable every once in a while. Gives a patina of importance, you know?