In a world of broken time and space, the modes of communication have changed profoundly in the last decade, and those that fail to understand the implications will feel their wrath.

At a broad level, there is a quadrant that can be drawn to understand the basics – the BTaS Commdrant (ok, terrible name):



In the not-so-distant past, people only really needed to worry about a subset of these modes of communication, and fully asynchronous modes (broken time, broken space) were limited to mostly written materials. Now, asynchronous modes dominate the communication landscape, not only for personal but also for business. We have already seen some of the unintended 2nd and 3rd order consequences from relying on these modes (misinterpreted emails/texts, emails getting forwarded to the NY Times, etc). Failure to understand the strengths and weaknesses of these modes is done at your own peril.

Further, there are issues around the immediacy and longevity of these modes. Twitter has led to fairly large, public conflagrations, but typically the lifespan of a Twitter post is about 48 hours max. Email however tends to have a slower uptake/ingest, but longer lifespans, often coming back to haunt people years after the fact (e.g. Hillary Clinton).


There is a range of longevity for each mode (and of course exceptions), and there also is a range for immediacy as well. But there are trends that have become established, so understanding how these asynchronous modes can be used to your advantage (and where they are at a disadvantage) is key in the digital age.