For several years while working alternately in Tucson, Arizona, and Malmö, Sweden, founding and running a new startup based in Malmö, I worked on projects using Skype, the then-most-current (and probably still most popular) teleconferencing tool and our linked desktop computers. There were moments when I swear I was in the same room with my colleagues in Sweden, Australia, and Seattle on several occasions when we put together proposals, decided on web graphics, and revamped our own strategies. It felt natural passing a virtual document among us and then placing it on Box for further collaborative reworking.
Even with my background developing virtual worlds for visualization and simulation purposes, this experience surprised me. Our team melded using the simplest tools. Imagine the opportunities for communicating and working with new types and forms of knowledge inherent to future collaborative and emotive technologies, Anywhere can become a window on the world and a means of empowering ourselves to make it a better place.
However, there may be downside. During one of those episodes described earlier, when I was alone in a rented condo dressed up in Western style, I noticed that the little bronze bear adorning a frontier lamp on the table next to my workspace was climbing up and down the lampstand, a toothy smile on its cheerful face.
Too many hours spent in virtual space may temporarily make you mad. As in crazy. Don’t worry. It shouldn’t last long…we hope.