Meet MyBlackBerry Community Manager Becky Young

Mobile Apps

beckycropped

So after much hubbub, MyBlackBerry™ has launched and is feeling the love from the BlackBerry® smartphone community. Now that we’ve fully jumped into the Internet’s social waters, I thought it would be a good idea to take a look back at how MyBlackBerry got started and where it’s going. There’s no better person to ask than MyBlackBerry’s Community Manager (and my boss), Becky Young.

Who are you and what do you do?
I am part of RIM’s social media team, that works on everything from the Inside BlackBerry blogs to the Facebook fan pages, and of course MyBlackBerry.  Our daily lives are full of listening – a lot of listening! And then we try to take what we learn from listening and incorporate that into the building of our social programs.

For MyBlackBerry I am the project lead, supported by Rodney on the technical side and Rob on the marketing side, and of course quite a few other RIM employees who help us keep the site together (app teams, accessories teams, support services, IT…the list is HUGE!). My main role is to make sure we stay true to what people using social sites expect.  It was quite a shift in thinking from “how do we design a site to tell people about BlackBerry smartphones” to “how do we design a site to help BlackBerry smartphone users talk to other BlackBerry smartphone users.”

What was the genesis for MyBlackBerry?
It has really evolved from where it began. The catalyst was mostly seeing web 2.0 and using web 2.0 tools in our everyday lives outside of RIM. With MyBlackBerry we wanted to do two things: create a place that is all about YOU and YOUR BlackBerry smartphone (not everyman’s BlackBerry smartphone – but yours) and connect this place to the largest BlackBerry smartphone community in the world.

The largest BlackBerry community in the world?
Well, when we started this project there was this dark cloud looming over our heads that said “but why will people join? They belong to enough communities already.” Not only that, but we have a vibrant user community spread across other social sites, so why would we go and create yet another place for BlackBerry smartphone fans? Our solution was to tear down the walls and bring all of our communities together. For people happy being a fan of our Facebook page, that’s fine. They can still be plugged in to the community discussion, and that’s what makes the community powerful. It brings people together from all over. 

Were you surprised by the overwhelming interest in MyBlackBerry when it was first revealed? What do you think triggered that?
I was delightfully surprised by the interest. When the initial story came out in July that there was a site called MyBlackBerry, I think much of the interest came from the fact that no one really knew what it was, and only a handful of people had invite codes. Speculation of what it really was I think really contributed to the interest. We’re really looking to use that interest to drive the development of the MyBlackBerry community forward.

What kind of BlackBerry smartphone user is going to participate in the MyBlackBerry community?
When we were developing the site we knew it had to be open to non-BlackBerry smartphone users too, because all people use social sites differently. Some people just like to read or watch other people’s contributions, and we didn’t want them to miss out because they weren’t really the type to sign up for social sites. In terms of features, the people we developed the site for are the very active social media users: people who love to share their opinions, show off the special tricks they use on their BlackBerry smartphone, and spread the word about a new application they’ve downloaded.

Will we ever see BlackBerry smartphone rumors on MyBlackBerry?
MyBlackBerry isn’t trying to be like the other BlackBerry smartphone websites on the Internet – you know which ones I’m talking about.😉 MyBlackBerry is about connecting BlackBerry smartphone users.

Explain the decision for the three main discussion areas (Applications, Tips and Tricks, Accessories).
We listened. And listening told us that BlackBerry smartphone users seem to like discussing applications, personalization (accessories for now, but we’ll be making some additions in the near future) and simple tricks. Being added to BlackBerry Messenger contacts also seems like a biggie, but there isn’t much you can discuss around that.

Even though it has just launched to the public, what is your favorite part of MyBlackBerry so far?
The discussion thread called “Introduce Yourself.” I love it! I love that the community came up with this.

When will we see MyBlackBerry launch outside of North America?
There is a lot involved with launching the site to other countries, especially when we have to consider all of the different languages to support. But we will be expanding, so stay tuned.

What’s in store for MyBlackBerry in the future?
This is only the beginning. The greatest thing about a community is that you can have a wish list of features but wonder if they’re the right ones. And then the community starts a thread called “Feature Requests” and you go “Oh, hey, look, I knew we were on the right track!” And like I said at the beginning, we’re listening. Some people were expecting more initially from MyBlackBerry, and that’s ok, because our intention was to start small and then work with the community to build what they want in a true web 2.0 fashion. It’s onward and upward from here.

Will you be my MyBlackBerry friend?
Of course!

About Douglas Soltys

Word Czar. Web 7.0 (in beta). Blogs and tweets and wonders.

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  • hafiziza

    Personally I think RIM needs to move a bit faster. I’m from Malaysia where Blackberry usage is widespread especially in the business community. Despite this, neither Blackberry App World nor MyBlackberry is available to Malaysian users. Perhaps RIM should look into this seriously?

  • hafiziza

    Personally I think RIM needs to move a bit faster. I’m from Malaysia where Blackberry usage is widespread especially in the business community. Despite this, neither Blackberry App World nor MyBlackberry is available to Malaysian users. Perhaps RIM should look into this seriously?

  • hafiziza

    Personally I think RIM needs to move a bit faster. I’m from Malaysia where Blackberry usage is widespread especially in the business community. Despite this, neither Blackberry App World nor MyBlackberry is available to Malaysian users. Perhaps RIM should look into this seriously?

  • Caspan

    Yes I will Becky, you look trusting and wont take the last beer in the fridge.. Plus any good looking woman that loves a BlackBerry as much as we do is all right in my books🙂 I hope that didn’t sound too creepy lol
    Love the new site though. Still working my way around the different interface. So many sites love the free or customized PHPBB that you just get so use to the same old same old. Then MyBlackBerry.com comes along and it’s like “What the heck is this?” different is good and it’s good to see RIM starting their own river instead of putting a boat in the some tired old boring river (see how I didn’t use the old beaten path cliche their to explain the same old same old?? you have inspired me🙂
    I get surprises every day and it come in the form of my passion which is technology. Keep up the good work guys! ohh sorry and gals!

  • Caspan

    Yes I will Becky, you look trusting and wont take the last beer in the fridge.. Plus any good looking woman that loves a BlackBerry as much as we do is all right in my books🙂 I hope that didn’t sound too creepy lol
    Love the new site though. Still working my way around the different interface. So many sites love the free or customized PHPBB that you just get so use to the same old same old. Then MyBlackBerry.com comes along and it’s like “What the heck is this?” different is good and it’s good to see RIM starting their own river instead of putting a boat in the some tired old boring river (see how I didn’t use the old beaten path cliche their to explain the same old same old?? you have inspired me🙂
    I get surprises every day and it come in the form of my passion which is technology. Keep up the good work guys! ohh sorry and gals!

  • Caspan

    Yes I will Becky, you look trusting and wont take the last beer in the fridge.. Plus any good looking woman that loves a BlackBerry as much as we do is all right in my books🙂 I hope that didn’t sound too creepy lol
    Love the new site though. Still working my way around the different interface. So many sites love the free or customized PHPBB that you just get so use to the same old same old. Then MyBlackBerry.com comes along and it’s like “What the heck is this?” different is good and it’s good to see RIM starting their own river instead of putting a boat in the some tired old boring river (see how I didn’t use the old beaten path cliche their to explain the same old same old?? you have inspired me🙂
    I get surprises every day and it come in the form of my passion which is technology. Keep up the good work guys! ohh sorry and gals!

  • Becky

    Glad you like the site Caspan! (and extra glad it inspired you to make up your own saying).

  • Becky

    Glad you like the site Caspan! (and extra glad it inspired you to make up your own saying).

  • Becky

    Glad you like the site Caspan! (and extra glad it inspired you to make up your own saying).

  • Dilidou

    About launching the site outside the US, how can we help or work on the project (here, it’s for the FRENCH one)??
    Is there anything we could do to accelerate the process ??🙂

  • Dilidou

    About launching the site outside the US, how can we help or work on the project (here, it’s for the FRENCH one)??
    Is there anything we could do to accelerate the process ??🙂

  • Dilidou

    About launching the site outside the US, how can we help or work on the project (here, it’s for the FRENCH one)??
    Is there anything we could do to accelerate the process ??🙂

  • Douglas Soltys

    Dilidou,
    That is a great question. I’ll pass this along to Becky and see if we can ‘crowd source’ some of the work and get you guys helping us out.
    Cheers!

  • Douglas Soltys

    Dilidou,
    That is a great question. I’ll pass this along to Becky and see if we can ‘crowd source’ some of the work and get you guys helping us out.
    Cheers!

  • Douglas Soltys

    Dilidou,
    That is a great question. I’ll pass this along to Becky and see if we can ‘crowd source’ some of the work and get you guys helping us out.
    Cheers!

  • Luc Vallee

    I have been a BlackBerry user for many years. And will probably remain one for years to come.
    I however deplore two things. The first is the internet capabilities of the device which reminds me of the pre Netscape days of the Internet. Navigating the web on a iPhone and then coming back to a BB is like going back to the stone age. I am seriously hoping that this is going to change. Moreover, there should not be a reason why I should not be able to access the internet in my home through my wireless network as if it were another computer.
    The second thing I deplore is a lack of a portability feature which does not exist in any portable device I have seen. This feature, explained below, would be very useful to me and many other users. I conjecture that, technologically, it could be very simple to offer it to customers. Would RIM be the first to offer this feature it would also, I think, help the company gain market shares.
    What is the feature? It is the possibility for the portable device to carry two chips so that I could swith easily and rapidly back and forth between my work BB and my personal BB on a single device.
    I now carry two BBs. One for work and one for personal use. I do this for many reasons. First because my employer does not let me use my work BB for personal matters. The second, because I want to keep my privacy. I don’t necessarily want my employer to know about my personal life. Third, because I an not allowed to access the internet at work from my computer for personal matters. And, fourth, if I do use the BB for personal matters (whether the internet, e-mails, downloads or the phone) I have to file some burdensome paperwork to reimburse my employer for the my personal share of my use of the device.
    For these reasons, and in a world where work is increasingly mingled with our personal lives, I keep two BB to be able to deal with my obligations. Now that I have achieve this complete segregation of my two lives on my two BBs, I find it very useful and very satisfying. Not only I manage the risks of my misusing my employer’s resources but my employer is also very happy. The only problem is that I have two BBs.
    I also encountered another situation where having only a buisness BB account was a problem. Last year I left my job but had to relinquish my BB chip immediately; I was allowed to keep the device. I lost use of the phone for a few days and until I was able to reactivate the account under my name, I had not cellular phone. I also lost important information on my calendar and my contact lists. It meant that people that used to communicate with me for personal reasons on my work BB could not get in contact with me until I was able to reach them to give them my new e-mail address. Althought I regained access to a BB within a few days, it took a few weeks before I could inform everyone of my change of e-mail address.
    It is only a question of time before this environment segregation becomes compulsary and is imposed upon employees by many employers. One of the reasons, I believe why it is not already enforced, is the perception that it is too complicated for people like me to have two BB. And it is indeed complicated.
    By offerering the solution, RIM would incite more and more employers to make environment segragation the norm and many people like me would jump on the opportunity to have a dual environment BB device.
    I hope this helps. I would be curious to know what you think. I will also post this comment on my blog, THe Scepticla Market Observer at http://scepticalmarketobserver.blogspot.com/2009/09/i-have-been-blackberry-user-for-many.html.
    I will let you know if anything interesting comes up.
    Thank you for the opportunity to discuss this matter on your blog,
    Luc

  • Luc Vallee

    I have been a BlackBerry user for many years. And will probably remain one for years to come.
    I however deplore two things. The first is the internet capabilities of the device which reminds me of the pre Netscape days of the Internet. Navigating the web on a iPhone and then coming back to a BB is like going back to the stone age. I am seriously hoping that this is going to change. Moreover, there should not be a reason why I should not be able to access the internet in my home through my wireless network as if it were another computer.
    The second thing I deplore is a lack of a portability feature which does not exist in any portable device I have seen. This feature, explained below, would be very useful to me and many other users. I conjecture that, technologically, it could be very simple to offer it to customers. Would RIM be the first to offer this feature it would also, I think, help the company gain market shares.
    What is the feature? It is the possibility for the portable device to carry two chips so that I could swith easily and rapidly back and forth between my work BB and my personal BB on a single device.
    I now carry two BBs. One for work and one for personal use. I do this for many reasons. First because my employer does not let me use my work BB for personal matters. The second, because I want to keep my privacy. I don’t necessarily want my employer to know about my personal life. Third, because I an not allowed to access the internet at work from my computer for personal matters. And, fourth, if I do use the BB for personal matters (whether the internet, e-mails, downloads or the phone) I have to file some burdensome paperwork to reimburse my employer for the my personal share of my use of the device.
    For these reasons, and in a world where work is increasingly mingled with our personal lives, I keep two BB to be able to deal with my obligations. Now that I have achieve this complete segregation of my two lives on my two BBs, I find it very useful and very satisfying. Not only I manage the risks of my misusing my employer’s resources but my employer is also very happy. The only problem is that I have two BBs.
    I also encountered another situation where having only a buisness BB account was a problem. Last year I left my job but had to relinquish my BB chip immediately; I was allowed to keep the device. I lost use of the phone for a few days and until I was able to reactivate the account under my name, I had not cellular phone. I also lost important information on my calendar and my contact lists. It meant that people that used to communicate with me for personal reasons on my work BB could not get in contact with me until I was able to reach them to give them my new e-mail address. Althought I regained access to a BB within a few days, it took a few weeks before I could inform everyone of my change of e-mail address.
    It is only a question of time before this environment segregation becomes compulsary and is imposed upon employees by many employers. One of the reasons, I believe why it is not already enforced, is the perception that it is too complicated for people like me to have two BB. And it is indeed complicated.
    By offerering the solution, RIM would incite more and more employers to make environment segragation the norm and many people like me would jump on the opportunity to have a dual environment BB device.
    I hope this helps. I would be curious to know what you think. I will also post this comment on my blog, THe Scepticla Market Observer at http://scepticalmarketobserver.blogspot.com/2009/09/i-have-been-blackberry-user-for-many.html.
    I will let you know if anything interesting comes up.
    Thank you for the opportunity to discuss this matter on your blog,
    Luc

  • Luc Vallee

    I have been a BlackBerry user for many years. And will probably remain one for years to come.
    I however deplore two things. The first is the internet capabilities of the device which reminds me of the pre Netscape days of the Internet. Navigating the web on a iPhone and then coming back to a BB is like going back to the stone age. I am seriously hoping that this is going to change. Moreover, there should not be a reason why I should not be able to access the internet in my home through my wireless network as if it were another computer.
    The second thing I deplore is a lack of a portability feature which does not exist in any portable device I have seen. This feature, explained below, would be very useful to me and many other users. I conjecture that, technologically, it could be very simple to offer it to customers. Would RIM be the first to offer this feature it would also, I think, help the company gain market shares.
    What is the feature? It is the possibility for the portable device to carry two chips so that I could swith easily and rapidly back and forth between my work BB and my personal BB on a single device.
    I now carry two BBs. One for work and one for personal use. I do this for many reasons. First because my employer does not let me use my work BB for personal matters. The second, because I want to keep my privacy. I don’t necessarily want my employer to know about my personal life. Third, because I an not allowed to access the internet at work from my computer for personal matters. And, fourth, if I do use the BB for personal matters (whether the internet, e-mails, downloads or the phone) I have to file some burdensome paperwork to reimburse my employer for the my personal share of my use of the device.
    For these reasons, and in a world where work is increasingly mingled with our personal lives, I keep two BB to be able to deal with my obligations. Now that I have achieve this complete segregation of my two lives on my two BBs, I find it very useful and very satisfying. Not only I manage the risks of my misusing my employer’s resources but my employer is also very happy. The only problem is that I have two BBs.
    I also encountered another situation where having only a buisness BB account was a problem. Last year I left my job but had to relinquish my BB chip immediately; I was allowed to keep the device. I lost use of the phone for a few days and until I was able to reactivate the account under my name, I had not cellular phone. I also lost important information on my calendar and my contact lists. It meant that people that used to communicate with me for personal reasons on my work BB could not get in contact with me until I was able to reach them to give them my new e-mail address. Althought I regained access to a BB within a few days, it took a few weeks before I could inform everyone of my change of e-mail address.
    It is only a question of time before this environment segregation becomes compulsary and is imposed upon employees by many employers. One of the reasons, I believe why it is not already enforced, is the perception that it is too complicated for people like me to have two BB. And it is indeed complicated.
    By offerering the solution, RIM would incite more and more employers to make environment segragation the norm and many people like me would jump on the opportunity to have a dual environment BB device.
    I hope this helps. I would be curious to know what you think. I will also post this comment on my blog, THe Scepticla Market Observer at http://scepticalmarketobserver.blogspot.com/2009/09/i-have-been-blackberry-user-for-many.html.
    I will let you know if anything interesting comes up.
    Thank you for the opportunity to discuss this matter on your blog,
    Luc

  • Luc Vallee

    I have been a BlackBerry user for many years. And will probably remain one for years to come.
    I however deplore two things. The first is the internet capabilities of the device which reminds me of the pre Netscape days of the Internet. Navigating the web on a iPhone and then coming back to a BB is like going back to the stone age. I am seriously hoping that this is going to change. Moreover, there should not be a reason why I should not be able to access the internet in my home through my wireless network as if it were another computer.
    The second thing I deplore is a lack of a portability feature which does not exist in any portable device I have seen. This feature, explained below, would be very useful to me and many other users. I conjecture that, technologically, it could be very simple to offer it to customers. Would RIM be the first to offer this feature it would also, I think, help the company gain market shares.
    What is the feature? It is the possibility for the portable device to carry two chips so that I could swith easily and rapidly back and forth between my work BB and my personal BB on a single device.
    I now carry two BBs. One for work and one for personal use. I do this for many reasons. First because my employer does not let me use my work BB for personal matters. The second, because I want to keep my privacy. I don’t necessarily want my employer to know about my personal life. Third, because I an not allowed to access the internet at work from my computer for personal matters. And, fourth, if I do use the BB for personal matters (whether the internet, e-mails, downloads or the phone) I have to file some burdensome paperwork to reimburse my employer for the my personal share of my use of the device.
    For these reasons, and in a world where work is increasingly mingled with our personal lives, I keep two BB to be able to deal with my obligations. Now that I have achieve this complete segregation of my two lives on my two BBs, I find it very useful and very satisfying. Not only I manage the risks of my misusing my employer’s resources but my employer is also very happy. The only problem is that I have two BBs.
    I also encountered another situation where having only a buisness BB account was a problem. Last year I left my job but had to relinquish my BB chip immediately; I was allowed to keep the device. I lost use of the phone for a few days and until I was able to reactivate the account under my name, I had not cellular phone. I also lost important information on my calendar and my contact lists. It meant that people that used to communicate with me for personal reasons on my work BB could not get in contact with me until I was able to reach them to give them my new e-mail address. Althought I regained access to a BB within a few days, it took a few weeks before I could inform everyone of my change of e-mail address.
    It is only a question of time before this environment segregation becomes compulsary and is imposed upon employees by many employers. One of the reasons, I believe why it is not already enforced, is the perception that it is too complicated for people like me to have two BB. And it is indeed complicated.
    By offerering the solution, RIM would incite more and more employers to make environment segragation the norm and many people like me would jump on the opportunity to have a dual environment BB device.
    I hope this helps. I would be curious to know what you think. I will also post this comment on my blog, THe Scepticla Market Observer at http://scepticalmarketobserver.blogspot.com/2009/09/i-have-been-blackberry-user-for-many.html.
    I will let you know if anything interesting comes up.
    Thank you for the opportunity to discuss this matter on your blog,
    Luc

  • Bruce

    Whay does Blackberry only offer two service plans? If you are an infrequent email user, but like the utility and organization capabilities, an unlimited plan is both costly and unnecessary. What about a limited use plan for people like me?
    B.

  • Bruce

    Whay does Blackberry only offer two service plans? If you are an infrequent email user, but like the utility and organization capabilities, an unlimited plan is both costly and unnecessary. What about a limited use plan for people like me?
    B.

  • Bruce

    Whay does Blackberry only offer two service plans? If you are an infrequent email user, but like the utility and organization capabilities, an unlimited plan is both costly and unnecessary. What about a limited use plan for people like me?
    B.

  • Bruce

    Whay does Blackberry only offer two service plans? If you are an infrequent email user, but like the utility and organization capabilities, an unlimited plan is both costly and unnecessary. What about a limited use plan for people like me?
    B.

  • vc

    Hello Douglas and Becky,
    Great to see that RIM is finally acknowledging the utility of the rich web – not just internet or email. Better late than never.
    In doing so, with all the new things you are doing, better browser, app store and whatever else is to come please don’t try to do the same things better than others.
    Do it better. Start where others have left off or just buy the technology to leapfrog others. To use an analogy, sometimes, using the BlackBerry and it’s ecosystem makes me feel that I’m using ancient MS DOS around 1990’s vintage rather than Windows XP or Vista .
    Another thing is that prior to today, I have seen a certain arrogance and air of dismissal in RIM’s response to consumers’ suggestions and the personal consumer market in general. I say this from experience, having submitted at least a dozen suggestions to bbsuggestions@rim.com and having only once got a proper acknowledgement. The rest of the time, no reply or a boiler plate response along the line of ‘thanks, but please talk to your mobile phone company instead of us’. Huh ?
    In fact, I had mailed RIM several months ago about the need to spruce up their device capabilities and lower their price, especially with the coming of the iphone. If you guys had listened, you wouldn’t be scrambling to look more sexy and young to consumers now and releasing devices like the 8520.
    Anyways, as I said before, better late than never. maybe we can learn from what the competition has done and do it better.
    My top suggestions:
    1) Improve the browser – use Skyfire, Bolt or whatever. provide the option to switch to “Classic” browsng mode when needed if the user is really interested only in browsing a whole lot of text or is in a low bandwidth area.
    2) Please sell unlocked phones in countries like India. The Curve 8320 which I use still cost around US$ 520 till August 2009( a year and a half after introduction) here from the carrier plus a full communciations subscription also needs to be taken . You guys are hurting yourselves with this policy. If you had better pricing or unlocked phones available through retail I would have changed to a newer device at least once by now.
    3) Please allow the BB to use the SD memory Card for additional RAM.
    4) FULL two way sync of email, contacts etc. with internet mail over BIS. I am sorely tempted to go in for an iphone and the bundled mac.com to get around this.
    5) What’s with always introducing new services and devices only in North America or UK to start with as in the case of the 8520 or the App Store or BB Unite ? Don’t alienate your growth country customers guys.
    Move faster, RIM and listen to your consumers as individuals – not as business suits.
    All the best.

  • vc

    Hello Douglas and Becky,
    Great to see that RIM is finally acknowledging the utility of the rich web – not just internet or email. Better late than never.
    In doing so, with all the new things you are doing, better browser, app store and whatever else is to come please don’t try to do the same things better than others.
    Do it better. Start where others have left off or just buy the technology to leapfrog others. To use an analogy, sometimes, using the BlackBerry and it’s ecosystem makes me feel that I’m using ancient MS DOS around 1990’s vintage rather than Windows XP or Vista .
    Another thing is that prior to today, I have seen a certain arrogance and air of dismissal in RIM’s response to consumers’ suggestions and the personal consumer market in general. I say this from experience, having submitted at least a dozen suggestions to bbsuggestions@rim.com and having only once got a proper acknowledgement. The rest of the time, no reply or a boiler plate response along the line of ‘thanks, but please talk to your mobile phone company instead of us’. Huh ?
    In fact, I had mailed RIM several months ago about the need to spruce up their device capabilities and lower their price, especially with the coming of the iphone. If you guys had listened, you wouldn’t be scrambling to look more sexy and young to consumers now and releasing devices like the 8520.
    Anyways, as I said before, better late than never. maybe we can learn from what the competition has done and do it better.
    My top suggestions:
    1) Improve the browser – use Skyfire, Bolt or whatever. provide the option to switch to “Classic” browsng mode when needed if the user is really interested only in browsing a whole lot of text or is in a low bandwidth area.
    2) Please sell unlocked phones in countries like India. The Curve 8320 which I use still cost around US$ 520 till August 2009( a year and a half after introduction) here from the carrier plus a full communciations subscription also needs to be taken . You guys are hurting yourselves with this policy. If you had better pricing or unlocked phones available through retail I would have changed to a newer device at least once by now.
    3) Please allow the BB to use the SD memory Card for additional RAM.
    4) FULL two way sync of email, contacts etc. with internet mail over BIS. I am sorely tempted to go in for an iphone and the bundled mac.com to get around this.
    5) What’s with always introducing new services and devices only in North America or UK to start with as in the case of the 8520 or the App Store or BB Unite ? Don’t alienate your growth country customers guys.
    Move faster, RIM and listen to your consumers as individuals – not as business suits.
    All the best.

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