I came across a TED presentation the other day that discussed our “culture of availability” and our obligation to that availability. It’s an interesting presentation and worth a watch (see below):

It got me thinking about synchronicity and reflecting upon some example of Google Wave that were showcased a few months ago at the San Francisco Enterprise 2.0 conference. At the time I wrote one word down in my notebook (yes I still use a pen and paper) that word being Synchronicity, appended with a large question mark.

You see we’re all diving in to embracing synchronous communications in forms both traditional and new (telephones the former, IM the latter) but at the same time many of us have a concern around just how much the obligation to digital availability impacts upon our non digital availability (precisely the point the video is trying to make).

Communication, beyond the transfer of information, is all about creating identity, sharing a narrative and, to some extent, defining who we are. Sometimes digital synchronicity is in fact a barrier to that aim.

Which swings back indirectly to the impact of Twitter-like tools within an enterprise and just how much adoption the vendors offering the myriad variations on the theme can expect to see. Yes, I’ll grant that there is a definite use case for synchronous communications – when an instant answer is needed, when a problem can be rapidly and easily solved, but likewise there is some context that comes from asychronicity that actually adds value to the transaction – to give time for reflection, rumination and synthesis of multiple themes.

We’re all accustomed to the “fire hose” analogy that sees us able to access nearly limitless information in real time. Whatever happened to the discussion around “right-time” information? The concept that sees situational asynchronicity as a valuable facet of communications?

What do others think? Is asynchronous soon to be dead and buried?



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Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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