Finding Time in a Digital Age

‘The very same machine that can make us feel harried also free up time, allowing for much greater autonomy, flexibility and versatility in how we organise human affairs’. (pg. 169)

For the Media 6 group work this semester, my focus has been on Slow Media, a broad theory encompassing both the production and consumption of media, and the means of production and consumption. This reading, with it’s focus on finding time, tied in perfectly to what my group has been researching.

One of the points made by Wajcman in this chapter is that the aspects of our lives that are overwhelming and stressful, are also the ones that relieve these negative feelings. Wajcman specifically refers to the smartphone, which we reach for ‘in an attempt to to relieve the pressure that the devices magnify but do not in themselves cause’. When we live in a society reliant on the technologies which are causing us stress, and which are also the technologies allowing us ample leisure time, it can be hard to ever really be away from the mounting pressures of the workplace or other responsibilities.

This reading reminded me of a recent change of law in France, where it is now illegal to send work-related emails outside of working hours. While I can’t see a law like this being implemented in Australia any time soon, with one of the longest working weeks in the world, it may be worth asking the question if such nationalised government strategies could work to relieve pressure on Australian workers.

While I struggled to get through this reading (it took me three days after I repeatedly fell asleep/got sidetracked by my smartphone) and found that I disagreed with a lot of it, I did find it to be an interesting look at the ways in life’s pressures and leisures and intertwined by new technologies. Even as I checked Instagram this morning, at 7am and while lying in bed, I found myself replying to work text messages received close to midnight last night. I don’t believe that technology is to blame, I think that it’s a way of thinking and doing that is prevalent in the Australian workforce, and will probably be prevalent for the rest of my working life.

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