What is a document? It started as a flat piece of beaten clay, onto which characters were scratched with a stick. 8000 years later it was found and after years of study, archaeologists concluded that it said: 'You owe me three goats”.
Through papyrus and parchment scrolls we arrived at mass production of paper and book printing in Europe in the 15th century. Our sense of the nature of a document is still derived from this previous revolution in information capture and distribution. When computers became commonplace as a tool to create documents, there was therefore a strong focus on applications to produce paper document as quickly and nicely as possible. The creation had become digital, but the final result was not fundamentally different from the first printed book in 1452.
Imagine that all the modern communication tools of today are not be available to you. No mail, no chat, no Twitter, Facebook or phone. Now imagine that you are a company with 50 employees who need to be in daily contact. How do you solve it? With them all working at the same location. Simple puzzle, right?
Now let us turn the question around: all these modern tools are available to you, so why are you going to the office every day? And as a bonus question: are you aware that a hundred years ago we were driving around with a horse and carriage?
Our computers remind us daily of old-fashioned working methods: we neatly arrange our files and folders in our digital filing cabinet every evening before we go home. To share information with colleagues we make a copy of the folder and forward it on. And if we make changes, there are suddenly two versions of the document. Colleagues can also modify the file, and then there are three.