In some recent writings and presentations, I have explored the topic ‘Time Is The New Space’:
We are not sharing space online, although it the conventional wisdom says we are. We are sharing time. Time has become a shared resource.
Our time is increasingly not our own, in a good way, as we move into a streamed model of connection.
Individual time becomes less of a reality, and a shared thread of time will become the norm — shared with those that are most important to you and those that reciprocate. This will change the basic structure of work.
Time is increasingly less linear, less mechanical; but more subjective and plastic.
Individuals will choose to trade personal productivity for connectedness, as voices in the stream ask for help, pointers, and introduction. Connectedness will trump other obligations, specifically timeliness.
I want to build on one aspect of this topic: to the degree that we rely on real-time streaming as the basis of our work interactions, we will sense that we are sharing time, not documents, or other artifacts. Interaction in real-time forms the context of our interactions, and displaces many prior social objects.
In particular, this means the end of documenting status by reports: moments are what we share, not memos.
The elements of the memo are atomized into a scattershot of micro status updates, which, like macro blogging before it, has thrown away the stucture of beginning, middle and end. We are always at the start, middle, and end. Not everything fits into a 140 character Twitter post, but long form writing won’t necessarily look like memos, but a slightly slower stream made up of larger chunks.
In everyday, more prosaic terms, I am betting that the operational documents that flowed, sluggishly, through the interoffice mail of companies in the ’90s, and as email attachments in the ’00s, will simply not be created in the ’10s. Instead, people will simply aggregate others’ streams — both micro and macro — ordered by time and topic. Or simply remain aware of what folks are doing in an ambient way, sharing time. A fully streamed world, not batched.