Throughout the last year, and even longer than that if we’re going to be honest, BlackBerry has delivered one clear and concise message. That they have not, and do not intend to abandon BB10. John Chen has consistently repeated this in interview after interview. Marty Beard has continued to repeat this. Alex Thurber has continued to repeat this. BlackBerry has continued to repeat this. In fact, if you speak to any BlackBerry employees, they’ll repeat it too. Yet people don’t seem to listen. They seem to refuse to listen.
Many media outlets continue to eulogize BB10. For whatever their reasons, they continue their own agenda of pushing forth news that claims the death of BlackBerry and the death of BB10. This should not be anything new to the BlackBerry fan. We’ve watched it since the introduction of BB10. Most, if not all of us, learned to ignore this message from sites such as BGR and The Verge. We knew what they would be saying, and we didn’t care. We used our devices and laughed at those sites and those that quoted them. But over the last year, we’ve seen a change, and that change has grown like a cancer within our community.
We have watched as our safe places on the web started to repeat the same chant of the death of BB10. Some allowing others to come to their site, these supposed safe havens of BlackBerry fans, and chant the death of BlackBerry. We’ve watched as the leadership of our favorite sites left the community altogether for the forbidden fruit, either handing the mantle off to the one person that was left that didn’t cave in to the peer pressure of the less knowledgeable, or closed or sold their shop altogether. We have watched as those which were once the leadership of our community, spearheading our want for a better BlackBerry turned their backs on the brand and ran off to iPhones and electric cars or obscurity.
In the absence of those that used to lead this great group of fans, I’ve watched as the fans have stopped ignoring those sites we used to laugh at. I’ve watched as BlackBerry users have started to doubt BlackBerry’s commitment to them. I’ve watched as users who once stood to defend BlackBerry have become those very people that trot through social media echoing that anti-BlackBerry agenda.
I’m tired of it.
We started UTB Blogs because of what was happening at those other sites. We saw the direction this was headed, and we wanted to provide what we used to have. A safe place, a fun place, for BlackBerry users to enjoy their BlackBerry devices with other BlackBerry users. Now let’s be honest. We haven’t done what we set out to do. None of us had ever done anything like this before, and mistakes were made. We hit the internets with the same voices we used when we were fighting for our brand of choice in various forums and comments throughout the lands. We wanted to correct the mis-information out there, and our goal was to do so in a humorous fashion. After all, we’re a fun bunch. The problem was that many didn’t get our humor. The sarcasm that we use when speaking with each other was seen as attacks, and looking back, probably were. I know that we turned many a BlackBerry user away because they saw us as something other than what we saw ourselves. I’ll never forget when a meme was messaged to me that was making it’s way through BBM groups which showed an attack dog foaming at the mouth identified as a UTB blogger. That’s not what we are, and not what we set out to be.
We have changed our approach. We have cut back our sarcasm and humor, to be more approachable to the more timid in our community. We have never claimed to be journalists, we’re not. We do not sit behind our computer, thesaurus in hand, looking for the biggest words we can use to get across our message hoping that other’s will believe us to be something we’re not. “The UTB Way” is to write conversationally, as we would speak among ourselves. We do it that way for a reason, because we want to come across as inviting. We don’t want to come across to the reader as if we think we are better than them, you won’t find us pretending to have inside information so that we can hold it over the reader’s head so that they keep coming back hoping for more. Do some of us talk to people at BlackBerry? Sure. Do some of us sometimes hear or see things before we’re supposed to? It’s possible. Will we string it out across the pages of our website like bait to bring in readers? No. We never will. In fact, we would never share anything besides our thoughts and theories until BlackBerry has deemed it is time to do so. We don’t play those tricks for one reason and one reason only. We want to support BlackBerry. We do it because we want users to be able to come and form a community here, because we are users ourselves, and we want to enjoy our time with other users. To put it in the simplest of terms, we’re not looking for fans, we’re looking for new friends.
What seems like a long walk on a tangent has a reason behind it. Because of our early actions, and because of our refusal to fall in to a specific mold, or to bow to websites that came before us, we have had many jabs taken at us. We have had other sites and many within the community saying such things as we are nothing but crazy fanboys (we have girls by the way folks, two of them!) or saying that we are radicals, or that we have no credibility. I’m sure you’ve heard it. I’m sure many have believed it. Some have gone so far as to say that we have done damage to the brand.
What is their proof?
Their proof is that we have continued to say that BlackBerry will come through. We were the ones that said BlackBerry would not be broken up and sold off. We were the ones that said that BlackBerry was not giving up on BB10. We are the ones that said we believed in BlackBerry and the team running it. We are the ones that have not run the stories of the end of BB10 and the end of the BlackBerry keyboard.
Our secret isn’t much of a secret. We listen to BlackBerry. And when we hear news that contradicts what BlackBerry has told us, we wait for verification before jumping on the bandwagon. Does it sometimes mean less clicks? Does it mean that other sites are getting more traffic and higher rankings because they are reporting these news stories and we’re not? You bet your ass it does. But in doing so, we’ve maintained our core values, which is to support BlackBerry, like a fan site should. Ask yourself the question, who is really damaging the brand? Those publishing these unconfirmed stories or those that still believe in BlackBerry?
Why bring this up now? I’m bringing this up for two reasons. It’s never polite to say I told you so, but this week, we here at UTB feel very vindicated. We have spent months repeating the same thing. That BlackBerry has not abandoned BB10. That BlackBerry is still supporting BB10, and that BlackBerry will look at the possibility of releasing future BB10 handsets after the release of 10.3.4. We’ve been saying this, because this is what BlackBerry has been telling the community all along. Yet as we continue to repeat and push BlackBerry’s message, there has been a constant barrage by those stating that we were wrong. This week, BlackBerry has made a solid push to correct mis-information. I have seen many of those same people that were questioning our credibility, now repeating the same thing we’ve been saying all along. Did they simply miss when BlackBerry said it the first, second, or third time? I don’t think so.
Now, I want to focus on something really important to me, and I know to many others out there. BB10 devices. We want them. We want them badly. And there’s none currently in the works. This should come as no surprise to anyone, as once again, BlackBerry has informed us of their current plan for the year which is all android devices. It should also come as no surprise because Chen has made it very public when he will look at the possibility of future BB10 devices again. I have personally spent a lot of energy trying to get a message across in our posts, on our channel, and during our Blogcasts. If we users wish to see another BlackBerry 10 phone, we need to let BlackBerry know that we are here and we want it. We need to make it happen. BlackBerry is providing what their customer wants, as they always have. We wanted apps, they gave us Amazon and the ability to directly download and install android apps. Yet we continued to shout for full android support and Google Services, and they provided the Priv and these upcoming Android devices. I was very happy when I read the following tweet today.
— BlackBerry (@BlackBerry) July 13, 2016
Is this clear enough for you?
So how do we drive this roadmap towards BB10? Easy. And it’s not what you think. It is not flooding BlackBerry’s Twitter and emails with “I want BB10” messages and threats. Not at all. It will take a little hard work. It will require fans supporting BlackBerry. Supporting their battle back to profitability. When we see that others are pushing an anti-BlackBerry agenda, either in media outlets, or just comments in sites, forums, or channels, offer a polite correction. Provide proof. There’s plenty of it, right from BlackBerry themselves. I am surely not saying run out and start forum or Twitter battles, that does no one any good, simply offer the truth and know that there is no honest way which that can be devalued.
And for the hard part. How can you ensure that you don’t get your device of choice? By attacking BlackBerry. I’m sorry folks. Sometimes we have to wait for what we want. Are you upset that the Z50 never came to fruition? Are you mad that the Priv runs android instead of BB10? Do you still think that BlackBerry should be supporting a tablet that was released in 2011? Well, you’re not alone. But each time you attack BlackBerry for these things throughout the internets, you’re decreasing the chance of BlackBerry managing to bring you what you want. Each time you run about comments stating that BlackBerry cannot possibly be hoping to bring back BB10 because they didn’t pour all their money in to a device which you wanted when you wanted it, you are pushing other’s away from purchasing a BlackBerry device. The BlackBerry Passport and BlackBerry Leap are two amazing phones, at opposite ends of the spectrum, both more than capable of competing against the phones of competitors on the market, and we need to promote them as such.
We have a time frame my friends. We have until the release of BB10.3.4 to ensure that there is a BlackBerry 10 device in the future. It’s in our hands. Are we going to make it happen, or are we going to ensure it doesn’t.
And now that I’ve wrote much more than I intended to when I sat down, I’d like to take the opportunity to invite you to join in here at UTB. I know there are a lot of you that pop in and read the posts here, but never comment or partake in our forums or discussions. I see the numbers, and I know that there are many. Now would be the time to dive in. I think that UTB is the best home for BlackBerry fans out there, and I can promise you that we will not lose sight of our goals like those that came before us. We WILL provide a safe, friendly place for BlackBerry fans to enjoy each other’s company and have fun, and we WILL continue to support the brand we love. We will also do everything in our power, as fans, to ensure we see a future BB10 device.
The only thing missing is you.
Haven’t signed up? Do so here