I own a RIM Blackberry Bold 9700. A great device. Hardware QWERTY keyboard, fairly good screen (size and resolution), 3MP camera AND a great OS. The hardware can be found in a lot of other phones but the OS and some of its unique components are really what makes any Blackberry great.
Since the social Networking boom, teenagers have got hold of Blackberrys and are now using this excellent service for gossip. Its mostly gossip. I feel that this is just plain wrong! A great device is now reduced to a phone with a primary use of instant messaging. Blackberry devices are very much under-appreciated. I'm not sure about your views regarding this but don't you think that BBM is now heading towards a different purpose than its original intentions?
If someone does need a device for social networking, there are other smartphones such as iPhone, Android devices and Windows Mobile/Phone devices which offer applications with similar features. An application called Whats App, performs similar function to BBM and is cross platform. Most people have Windows Live subscription or Google accounts, there are messengers available for these platforms and even for Facebook! I feel Blackberry should try to keep itself in its home, in the enterprise world for now. Maybe a new device with less security and less enterprise functionality can be created for those who only care about BBM.
I take part in Market research for Blackberry devices. Most of the questions presented are related to the use of social networks and what I use BBM for. My answers to them are simple, I ONLY use LinkedIn application and BBM if I don't have someone's number but only their PIN. For me BBM is a messaging tool like any other but with the added security and privacy. I don't pay a extra fee to RIM for Blackberry services so I can gossip or spread news or send pointless messages which are better conveyed verbally or face-to-face. I have unlimited sms message plan for that, if I can't attend to a call I can sms back or if I'm in a meeting I can send sms to friends. But at a workplace, BBM is useful as this is a secure platform in alignment with most corporate policies. Confidentiality and security is present.
All in all, I feel RIM is pushing Blackberry in a wrong direction and should introduce a new device with functionality similar to other smartphones plus a non secure/encrypted BBM service for the more socially oriented people (the youth).