Is it ever nighttime on the internet?
I once spoke with someone at a cyber-security company that tracked insider trading in financial institutions.
The programmer told me that they wrote algorithms to spot the illegal activity.
One of the funny stats that showed up from their work was that most insider trading tended to happen at night, and tended to happen late, like midnight or later.
Apparently, people who are committing crimes online felt safer doing so at night...like you would in the physical world.
But to the algorithm that runs 24/7... there is no nighttime.
Think about the amount of time you spend in email, chat apps, or even social media (for work). Think about the roles in the company, how they’re shifting, how much time you spend in productivity apps; like Intercom, Monday, Zoom…How you communicate with email. How you document your process in Dropbox. How you Skype a new client.
In the working world, the time to play (at the bar) and the time to work (in the office) were distinct and separate units.
We leave our houses. We go to an office. We go to a bar, or restaurant. These distinct and clearly lined locations were the structures that we would enter for a particular behavior in your life.
We don’t work “on a computer” - we work inside a world of infinite applications, websites, social forums and search queries.
And as we dive into the infinite depths of the well that is the internet, we recognize that there are no longer borders.
You have dozens of tabs open, each one is a room into a new space; some social, some analytical, some work oriented, some are like school.
We seamlessly and simultaneously move through spaces with ease and without friction.
In our social feeds we get mixed information flows of politics, sports, entertainment, personal updates and blogging...
Location is downgraded in importance.
Today I have a call with someone in France. Tomorrow I’ll have a call with someone in Toronto, and then the Philippines. This is the new normal.
I am now as close digitally to the person in San Francisco as I am the person in Africa. We are all connected by the same screen, in the same application, on the same devices.
Am I a writer? An author? A designer? A photographer? A Founder? A Coach? A Product Manager? A Marketer?
I am all of them. I am none of them. I speak the language.
Do you know that a skill today is simply understanding, fluently, the language of a social network or social circle?
These are not the careers of the past.
We used to draw lines everywhere.
But those lines are being brought down and rearranged.
Lines are helpful for setting context and creating needed structure for producing our work.
We will use lines to set context, but like an etch-e-sketch, right after the lines have fulfilled their role, we will shake the slate clean again.
Borders are now malleable and ideological. They are written into smart contracts, legal contracts, and frameworks for viewing datasets.
A company is a set of lines.
A course is a set of lines.
A religion is a set of lines.
A community is a set of lines.
But the digital world is inherently line-less.
It is now up to us to create these lines for ourselves and for others.
To create borders for our own career.
To create borders for our clients to utilize to get something done.
To create stories that help us adapt, lenses that help us see.
But the default state…
Is now borderless, timeless, and fluid.