From, Above The Law, Quinn Emanuel has instructed their associates to check their blackberry always and often. I find this policy totally sensible:
LESSON NUMBER ONE: You should check your emails early and often. That not only means when you are in the office, it also means after you leave the office as well. Unless you have very good reason not to (for example when you are asleep, in court or in a tunnel), you should be checking your emails every hour. One of the last things you should do before you retire for the night is to check your email. That is why we give you blackberries. I can assure you that all of our clients expect you to be checking your emails often.
I agree, that the only times when I do not check my blackberry are when I’m in the air (I loathe flying because of the downtime, and leave my blackberry on in air because once in a while an email will slip through at 30,000 feet), and while sleeping (I do shut all notifications off while I’m asleep, which isn’t really too long in my life).
But, I do not think this policy goes quite far enough. Here is my personal Blackberry policy, which I rigidly adhere to.
Once an hour is totally inadequate. You should check your blackberry as you receive a message. Even if you cannot respond to the message right away, flag for a reply later. Or, reply, and let the person know you are on the issue, but are currently preoccupied.
Further, a text message, GChat, or a Blackberry Message (BBM for those in the know) should be replied to immediately. These should be used sparingly, as they imply the need for an immediate response. But when someone sends you such a communique, don’t leave them hanging. Facebook messages are a gray area. But a relatively prompt response is just polite.
You should be well versed enough with googling on your blackberry to be able to access key sites like findlaw, scotusblog, volokh conspiracy, etc. RSS readers are helpful but not necessary (I don’t like them). You should never not be able to look up some fact.
Finally, if you are a blogger, WordPress for your blackberry is an ideal application. You can write posts on the go, upload photographs you take wherever you go to you blog, and instantly moderate comments.
There is little that cannot be done with a Blackberry, if you use it properly.
Update: Check out my other post on Quinn & Crackberry!