We live in a world of broken time and space. This isn’t a new or digital phenomenon, but it is driven by technology. Typically I point to the printing press as the first technological breakthrough that allowed time and space to be broken. That took an oral tradition and moved it to a more permanent instantiation that was also portable (the book). Technology has continued to break the continuity of analog/human interactions, upping the ante with the telegraph and telephone (point to point communication), radio and television (broadcast communication), and of course recording capabilities. In particular, the VCR and the answering machine had profound impacts on how people went about their day while creating havoc with business models and societal norms.
So digital is just more of the same, right? Well, maybe not. First, there is the issue of time to adoption. Previous technologies had much slower absorption into culture and society.
Digital on the other hand – new capabilities come at a much more rapid pace. Even 1-year product cycles now seem too slow. Trade shows, at least for their traditional use (finding new stuff and writing deals), have fallen by the wayside. As notes previously, digital changes everything due to the inherent malleability of the information. It is so easy and fast to now capture, manipulate, and transfer, that previous models for how humans would deal with technology and information fall by the wayside. It’s not just more of the same – it is a leap to a very different transaction between human and information, and human and human.