Finding the Time

Reading: Judy Wajcman, 2015, ‘Finding Time in a Digital Age’ in Pressed for Time: The Acceleration of Life in Digital Capitalism, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, ch.7.

Adam suggests that with the advancement of technologies, has come a growing sense of “temporal impoverishment”. Rather than new technologies making our lives more leisurely, we have began to believe that time is just a metric unit that we must not waste, and that to do better we must go faster. This idea that faster is better is linked into a lot of our modern media technologies, shorter news articles, hyper consumption, 1 minute meals, time management apps. Adam’s however doesn’t believe in the idea of a “digital detox” as a way of combating this and bringing humanity back to a slower paced lifestyle. I often think of it as an easy fix; logging out, switching off, heading to the country side and living modestly or something romantic like that. But I think trying to escape technology in such a rigid way, is oversimplifying the way that time and technology interact.

Adam suggests that to make more of time we must shift “the emphasis away from how digital devices colonize our time to a more political orientation based on how time is allocated an how it is valued.” I think this is a really powerful way of looking at time, not as solely a unit of measurement but as something we assign meaning to. Adam’s comment on what constitutes quality time and how by its very meaning it can’t be accelerated is crucial to this debate. The idea of a parent spending time with their child, as a type of time that cannot be hastened is a good example for the flaws in the faster is better ideology and the way a gender bias operates within it. Maximizing efficiency does not always maximize affectivity. Speed does not always correlate to progress. I think in this age we are quick to define our value and ourselves as a whole, by our output or productivity, but it is important to remember that we do not need to be moving to exist.

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