Constant Connectivity in a Wireless Age: The Discursive Promotional Strategies of the BlackBerry

By Rebecca D. Reeve

A thesis in the Department of Communication Studies

Presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for a Masters of Arts (Media Studies) at Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

© Rebecca D. Reeve, September 2007

Abstract

This thesis examines the promotional discourse of the BlackBerry, the mobile email device made by Research in Motion, and the changes in the language used to promote the product as the target market has shifted from a business oriented audience to a consumer audience. The transition has been achieved through the creation of the BlackBerry Pearl, which has leveraged the BlackBerry's reputation for increasing productivity and efficiency in business contexts and repositioned those qualities as desirable in the management of one's personal life. I claim that when personal events are described in business terms, as they are in the promotional materials for the Pearl, the result of the converged frames of reference is a discourse of the "professionalized personal." The merger of personal and work spheres originates from the neoliberal principle of increased efficiencies and productivity that is present in many organizations. This work provides historical and social context for the development of RIM and the BlackBerry and then moves into a reading of RIM's promotional discourses as well as the discourses of the popular media and scholars on the subject.

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