Last night around 7 PM or so I caught a tweet that made me check my Blackberry. Yes indeed, there must be an outage. Then another tweet came in. Then another, and another.
All the while RIM was silent.
This is not the first time that Research In Motion was off the air and I don't mean the devices. But the reason is simple. All the people who work there use RIM devices so like the rest of the RIM user base in the Americas they couldn't be reached. What was also down was perhaps the most important aspect of the Blackberry, the app simply called Messenger. RIM's Blackberry Messenger is a blend of Instant Messaging and SMS. It works across networks and is as fast as any communications tool. It is also part of everyone's BlackBerry Data Plan, if one has installed it. So in the world of Mission Critical apps, the Blackberry Messenger plays that role.
Unfortunately, RIM's reaction time, and its statements to what I think is at least the third major outage this year has been the opposite to what a company that excels in speed should be. Here's why:
1) No real answer has been given overnight, other than confirming what everyone already has figured out
2) There isn't any official statement on the press page
3) The home page to their web site says nothing at all about the outage, not even a "We're Sorry"
4) RIM lacks a front person who communicates to the social communications world. They have zero interface with their most important constituency, the users
Sites like Crackberry and other blogs and Forums are full of loyal and very patient users, and no product is without the risk of a black out, but every time RIM goes silent they magnify the problem.
Since we no longer live in a world where tomorrow is soon enough to provide an answer, RIM needs to bring the same kind of responsiveness when it comes to letting their users know when things go wrong that their users already experience in communications. Anything short of that, they're missing what makes them what they are.