chapter  4
80 Pages

New Media in Everyday Life

From clocks to telegraphs to radio and television, new media have always woven themselves into everyday life, interfering with existing patterns of spatiotemporal organisation, generating new rhythms and spaces. The migration of computer technology from industry and research laboratory to the home over the past thirty years or so has intensified these processes. The popular culture of new media began with videogames, a medium that brought with it a technological imaginary of an everyday future disappearing into the ‘cyberian apartness’ of virtual worlds. As, over time, some new digital media have become unremarkable due to their familiarity and ubiquity, and others have been refashioned or displaced, we can see not a Narnia or Matrix-like division of virtual and actual worlds, but rather a complicated interweaving of mediated, lived, time and space. For example, mobile devices such as cell phones, GPS/ satnav, MP3 players, and handheld games consoles, draw bodies and communication across everyday and technological realms and temporalities. Attention, throughout the

working or playing day jumps to the communicational polyrhythms of diverse digital media: from the Tetris-like deluge of the email Inbox; the rapid volleys of IM and SMS; the insistent realtime pull of the social network page; the bubbles of virtuality that pop into existence as a handheld games console is snapped open; the gravitational pull of persistent virtual worlds such as Second Life or World of Warcraft with their event horizons from which little or nothing may escape for hours.