As if losing to Apple and Google in the duel for mastery of the smartphone and tablet markets were not bad enough, RIM’s Blackberry brand now has another problem to contend with.
Just as the upmarket Burberry brand was once appropriated by Chavs desperate for those trademark Rupert Bear scarves, so Blackberry’s slick image has been hijacked by rioters wreaking havoc across much of Greater London.
I don’t mean the phones have been looted from shops (though that may be true enough). No, this is far worse. The brand is now the communications weapon of choice for spotty hoodies texting their plans for countrywide mayhem.
The Telegraph notes laconically:
The BlackBerry phone, one of the first devices to offer mobile email, was once the preserve of business leaders and political aides but has become increasingly popular with members of urban gangs and teenagers.
And all because the BB Messenger service has a superior edge to other forms of social media. Twitter and Facebook leave a smoking gun for the police to pick up. Not so BBM, which can spread battleplans virally without them being traceable to individual perpetrators (apparently). RIM has always had a thing about security, now it’s obsession has come back to bite it in the bottom.
BBM is not the only marketing tool being turned to good account by rioters, however. Say hello to the Flash Rob, a pathological variant of the Flash Mob, in which sundry groups of delinquents meet up via social media to loot and burn specially targeted shops.
When it comes to social media, rioters are always going to be one step ahead of trundling Plod. After all, they’re the only ones young enough to really get it.