Amorphous Now

Sociology is dynamic, amorphous and independent of individualism. Capturing status on sociology is fleeting. Look away from your media streams for one hour and you're behind. Missing one piece of information regarding a market shift may be the difference between personal or professional profit or loss. Missing one degradative comment in an online social stream regarding your business and you may incur a negative reputation without knowing it and be forced to attempt blind recovery in front of a potential customer later. Assuming information, reputation and idea evolution are physically containable is archaic. Physical security is an old, old assumptive behavior. Either you know, or you do not know. Either you have the information you should have right now or you do not. Either you are capable of watching, learning and evolving with the social evolution of technology utilization and information bitstreams or you are not. If you are a business that attempts to live in, and even serve, those in the social riptide -- you must be fast and able to surf. Yes, I said you must be able to surf a riptide.

A riptide is a phenomenon that surfers, swimmers, lifeguards and lovers of oceans should be aware of, plan for, and be prepared to deal with -- and even leverage -- in order to be a part of the ocean. As water, sand and debris are pushed onshore with each wave of water, it follows a wave before it and is followed by another thereafter. Sizes of waves, amounts of debris and water, wind speeds and directions, and time between waves are all indiscriminately patterned. In the event all of these variables come together in any particular combination exacerbated by volume and velocity, what just came to the beach on a particular wave cannot return in the inverse manner because of what comes after it. So, needing someplace to go next, it gets pushed to the side. Debris and sand build up while water runs parallel until it can return to the ocean. After build-up occurs on both sides of a particular channel creating new sandbars, it creates a jetstream of sorts through the channel back to the ocean. If you don't see it, it can pull you away from the beach faster than you can address it. If you need to get out into the ocean quickly, such as if you were a lifeguard or surfer, you can ride the riptide to increase your velocity. If you see it and understand it, you can manage to it and even use it. If you don't know about it or understand it, it will control you, damage you, or even kill you.

Sociology, technology and knowledge create a perfect triumvirate-like union forming a riptide. Either you understand and embrace all three or you are damaged and/or destroyed by it. You can ride the rip, you cannot control it.

Now imagine being a member of an engineering staff developing and supporting technology to work inside the social, knowledge dominated, technology realm using poor, slow, unoptimized design, development and delivery practices. Riptide velocities are measured in 'now' increments. How much worse a company unable to grasp current trends, velocities, implications and make decisions associatively at rip speeds. If you are not capable of 'now', you're late for dinner.

Pending humanity's choices, the amorphous ocean will outlast all of us. Fight, ignore or disregard the rip. The ocean doesn't care. It will just sweep you into the sandbar with all the rest of the debris.