In “I Understand the How, But What About the Why?,” Kent Newsome considers Dave Winer’s “River of News” phenomenon from a user’s perspective, a typical user, in fact.
Newsome’s title succinctly summarizes his argument:
I understand how to do a blog post on a Blackberry. Well, actually, you simply do it via email. But it's certainly possible to do it the hard way like Dave shows in his video. I'm OK with all of that. Really.
What I don't understand is why you would want to surf the net, read your news and write blog posts on a Blackberry?
I assume no right thinking person would if they were at home or at work, where there's always a big, visible computer nearby. With a screen you can read, a keyboard, and a fast internet connection.
When traveling? Well maybe, but wouldn't anyone who has a blog also have a laptop with them?...
I think people are treating this Blackberry as a web surfing and blogging tool the way mountain climbers treat a mountain. They move right past the why and just start climbing. Because they can, because it's cool, or because they're bored. Or maybe so they can try to convince more people to use their mobile computing products…
People will fall all over themselves trying to rationalize it away, but everyone who is actually trying to get content, as opposed to push content, knows that other than text based headlines and the occasional weather forecast, surfing the net on a Blackberry is sort of like running a race in wooden clogs. You can do it, but it's slow and painful.
I second Newsome on two fronts: 1) intellectually and 2) personal anecdotal experience.
ANECDOTE: I recently won the business card drawing at an industry event. The prize? A Palm Treo 700w Smartphone from Verizon. Verizon was not 100% generous, however; Full use required payment of an activation fee and a commitment to a service plan. I used the ZDNet blogger card and managed to get a one-month, no-charge test activation.
During the event, an attendee ran over to me and offered me $100 cash on the spot for the Treo; He had recently bought his wife the prior model and wanted to surprise her with an upgrade. Having some fun, I negotiated the sale of my prize to $200. The passionate ZDNet blogger I am, however, I could not pass up the opportunity to test the Palm Treo 700w Smartphone in the real world.
I can summarize my experience simply: I did not have the patience to even read my own blog on the Treo!
HAPPY ENDING: I got back in touch with the willing buyer of my prize and pocketed $200!