Making, Managing and Experiencing ‘the Now’: Digital Media and the Compression and Pacing of ‘Real-Time’

Coleman, Rebecca. 2020. Making, Managing and Experiencing ‘the Now’: Digital Media and the Compression and Pacing of ‘Real-Time’. New Media & Society, 22(9), pp. 1680-1698. ISSN 1461-4448 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Digital media time is commonly described as ‘real-time’. But what does this term refer to? How is ‘real-time’ made, managed and experienced? This paper explores these questions, drawing on interviews with UK based digital media professionals. Its specific concern is with how accounts of the time of digital media indicate a particular, yet supple, temporality, which emphasises ‘the now’. I draw on current literature that explores how real-time is a temporality capable of being stretched and condensed, or variously compressed and paced. While much of this literature focuses on the technological fabrication of real-time, I explore how ‘the now’ is produced through the interplay between human and non-human practices. Through discussion of the interviews, the paper concentrates on social, cultural and affective dimensions of ‘the now’, fleshing out more technologically-focused work and contributing to understanding of a prevalent way in which time is organised in contemporary digital societies.

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Digital media, social media, time, temporality, the present, the now, real-time, live

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21 September 2019Accepted
3 September 2020Published

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Date Deposited:

23 Sep 2019 09:32

Last Modified:

09 Dec 2020 19:30

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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