It used to be when someone asked for your address, they meant your street address. I know, it sounds funny now, because it is much more likely that we exchange email addresses today, or perhaps our social handles. And sometimes we are in the same place, without sharing addresses at all. I have “friends” (or are they “followers”?) on Pinterest because they were suggested based on our affinity for ridiculous shoes or fabric art (or at least that is what I assume about the algorithms that brought us together). We are now residents of the digital landscape and we might not know our own address.
This got me thinking of the implications of this to other elements of our work. If co-workers in far-flung parts of the globe use the same ERP system, website, salesforce automation tools, and data warehouse, is it like we are co-located in a single office? How does our citizenship in the digital landscape affect who we consider our “first team” (to use the language of Patrick Lencioni)? The people we might be interacting with the most (in terms of pushing and pulling information or internal customers of our work product) might be people we don’t know personally, but interact in a brokered matter through these systems.
So, both in our personal and work life it might become increasingly difficult to know our neighbors. It could be that software designers, using human design principles, might be responsible for how human and how humane, we are to each other in the future.