I lead into this discussion using the well known adage that says,’Which came first- The chicken or the egg?’ Granted, it’s a bit trite, but many a glass of wine has been tossed back over discussions about cause, effect, cause.
Recent developments in physics are re-confirming what has been told by ancient metaphysics for millennia. One such point in this regard is the notion that we create our own reality by manipulating the energy around us. While this is a notion that is deserving of focused discussions in its own right, I will leverage this notion as an analogy for a quick comment on the development of technology.
Let’s take communication technology for example. Many of us can remember the emergence of Email as an application, and as a communication technology. It really wasn’t that long ago. It could be said that Email was the killer app of the ARPANET (remember that name?), and when we talk about ARPANET we’re covering ground in the ’60’s and ’70’s. I believe it was 1971 when Ray Tomlinson sent the first networked email, and within just a couple of years Email accounted for more than 75% of traffic on ARPANET. Sound familiar? It would seem that Email has been the cocaine that drove us to accelerated consumption of content and messaging which now consumes such a large part of our day.
For anyone reading this BLOG, it’s surely the case that for most everyone you know, Email is a fundamental part of daily life. Not only does Business depend upon it, but we depend upon it for our personal lives as well. With the fact that Email is securely rooted in our daily personal and professional lives, I will say too that I’m one of those people who are firmly in the camp that says Email is a technology that is struggling to be’Fit for Purpose’ (to use an ITIL term) given the nature of contemporary communication processes.
So what does any of this have to do with chickens and eggs, or with creating our own realities? To me, this is a good analogy to describe the fact that we create technologies that we need to facilitate our desired business behaviors. That is, we are not addicted to increasing amounts and urgency of communication because Email and IM enabled it. Rather, we need to communicate with more urgency, and collectively we’ve enabled the emergence of technologies that accommodate the state that our business behavior demands.
In a future post, I’ll share the results of my query of a number of users with the question of whether email is dead. I was surprised by the feedback and perhaps you’ll find it interesting as well.
Cartoon credit: Joel Coughlin