From monochronic to mobilechronic. Temporality in the era of mobile communication, LY Chung, SS Lim

Tags: Mobile Communication, Passagen Verlag, Temporality, Calls, mobile, Singapore, mobile telecommunications, mobile communications, focus groups, K. Nyiri, Calls Shake, Chung, L. Y., polychronic, housing agent, Edward Hall, A Sense of Place, Cambridge University Press, Sun Sun Lim, participant observation, monochronic, social practices, J. Rifkin, Calls Jiahui, monochronic and polychronic, SMS messages, Shake, Lyn-Yi Chung
Content: This is the postprint version of: Chung, L. Y. and Lim, S. S. (2005) From Monochronic to Mobilechronic ­ Temporality in the Era of Mobile Communication. In K. Nyiri (Ed.) A Sense of Place: The Global and the Local in Mobile Communication. Vienna: Passagen Verlag. 267-282
Lyn-Yi Chung and Sun Sun Lim
From Monochronic to Mobilechronic ­ Temporality in the Era of Mobile Communication
Abstract This paper studies how the time perceptions and lifestyles of Singaporeans have been influenced by the growing ubiquity of the mobile phone. Through a combination of focus group discussions and non-participant observation, this paper examines the impact of mobile communication on the norms, attitudes and behaviours pertaining to time management and social interaction in Singapore. It investigates the tension between old and new temporalities and its effect on Singaporeans' quality of life and social relationships. In so doing, this paper explores the continued relevance of the monochronic/polychronic conception of time proposed in Edward Hall's The Dance of Life1. It suggests that a hybrid, "mobilechronic" temporality appears to be emerging, where people in predominantly monochronic cultures are engaging in more polychronic behaviour facilitated by mobile communication, and have to nimbly navigate between two temporal modes. Introduction It has often been argued that the prevailing technologies of an era can exert profound influence on people's perceptions of time2. In particular, ICTs like computers, the Internet and mobile telecommunications have been said to have revolutionary effects on our time perceptions3. As time is fundamental to modern-day existence, time perceptions in turn fashion people's behaviour, schedules, pace of life, stress levels, relationships and overall well-being.
1 E.T. Hall, The Dance of Life: The Other Dimension of Time, New York, NY: Anchor Press/Doubleday, 1983. 2 J. Rifkin, Time Wars: The primary conflict in Human History, New York, NY: Simon and Schuster Inc, 1987; E.P. Thompson, "Time, work discipline and industrial capitalism" in Past and Present, vol. 38 (1967), pp. 56- 97; N. Thrift, "New urban eras and old technological fears: Reconfiguring the goodwill of electronic things" in Urban Studies, vol. 33, no. 8 (1996), pp. 1463-1493. 3 See M. Castells, The Rise of the Network Society, Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers, 2000; T.H. Eriksen, Tyranny of the Moment: Fast and Slow Time in the Information Age, London: Pluto Press, 2001; L. Haddon, "The Social Consequence of Mobile Telephony: Framing Questions". Paper presented at the seminar Sosiale Konsekvenser av Mobiltelefoni. Oslo, Norway, 2000; J.E. Katz and M. A. Aakhus, "Introduction: framing the issues" In J.E. Katz, and M. A. Aakhus (Eds.), Perpetual Contact: Mobile Communication, Private Talk and Public Performance, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000, pp.1-13; R. Ling and B. Yttri "`Nobody sits at home and waits for the telephone to ring': Micro and hypercoordination through the use of the mobile telephone". Paper presented at Kjeller, Telenor Forskning og Utviklinh, FoU Rapport 16/98. Oslo, Norway, 1999; P. Virilio, Polar Inertia (trans. Patrick Camiller), London: Sage, 2000; Rifkin, op. cit.
This is the postprint version of: Chung, L. Y. and Lim, S. S. (2005) From Monochronic to Mobilechronic ­ Temporality in the Era of Mobile Communication. In K. Nyiri (Ed.) A Sense of Place: The Global and the Local in Mobile Communication. Vienna: Passagen Verlag. 267-282 In cultural anthropologist Edward Hall's The Dance of Life, he argued that cultures are either predominantly `monochronic', in their usage of time i.e. adhering strictly to schedules and observing Northern European-style linear time, or `polychronic' i.e. changing plans easily and observing cyclical time. (Please see Table 1.) Under Hall's dichotomy, Singapore can be considered a monochronic society, where the importance of maintaining schedules and observing deadlines is paramount4. Another temporal trait in Singaporean culture is the relatively strict adherence to linear time, traceable to a British-colonial past and the country's status as a regional financial, transportation and manufacturing hub. Time in Singapore is considered tangible and is constantly budgeted by individuals.
Table 1. Characteristics of Monochronic and Polychronic Cultures
MONOCHRONIC CULTURES Eg. Northern European cultures. Do one thing at a time.
POLYCHRONIC CULTURES Eg. Arab, Latin American cultures. Involved in many things at once.
Compartmentalisation of jobs, reduced context and relation to the People are deeply immersed in each others' business. larger whole.
Observe linear, clock time. Monochronic time is tangible and can be considered "saved, spent, wasted, lost, made up, crawling, killed and running out". Positively correlated with `economy of time'. Schedule-dominated; deadlines considered important.
Observe cyclical time. Polychronic time less tangible, considered as a point, rather than a ribbon or a road. Time is seldom considered "wasted". Stresses involvement with people and transactions.
Concentration on the job at hand. Take time commitments seriously.
Highly distractible people; subject to interruptions. View time commitments as objectives to be achieved.
Adhere religiously to plans.
Change plans often and easily.
Concerned about not disturbing others; follow rules of privacy and consideration.
More concerned with those who are closely related than with privacy.
Emphasize promptness.
Base promptness on the relationship.
Time is linked to ego and lateness is taken personally.
Lateness does not offend as there are so many other things
going on that it does not matter.
Adapted from Hall (1983)5 and Hall and Hall (1990)6
Given the widespread use of the mobile phone (hereafter, mobile or handphone) in Singapore though, strict application of the `monochronic' label seems to be rendered problematic. With every eight in ten Singaporeans owning mobiles, polychronic perceptions and uses of time are becoming more palpable. Multi-tasking, uninhibited
4 R. R. Gesteland, Cross-Cultural Business Behaviour: Marketing, negotiating and managing across cultures, Copenhagen: Handelshшjskolens Forlag; Milakov, S. (1995). Asian games: How to use the power of Asian culture to create a profitable Asian business relationship, Coolum Beach, Queensland, 1999, pp. 29-31. 5 Hall, op. cit. 6 E.T. Hall and M.R. Hall, Understanding cultural differences, Yarmouth, ME: Intercultural Press, 1990.
This is the postprint version of: Chung, L. Y. and Lim, S. S. (2005) From Monochronic to Mobilechronic ­ Temporality in the Era of Mobile Communication. In K. Nyiri (Ed.) A Sense of Place: The Global and the Local in Mobile Communication. Vienna: Passagen Verlag. 267-282 intrusions on others and the spontaneous scheduling or rescheduling of appointments are increasingly common polychronic practices, enabled by the adoption of mobile communication. Yet, underlying this polychronic behaviour are monochronic traditions which continue to dominate in certain realms of everyday Singaporean life. This paper studies how the time perceptions and lifestyles of Singaporeans have been influenced by the growing ubiquity of the mobile. It examines the impact of mobile communication on the norms and attitudes pertaining to time management and social interaction in Singapore. In so doing, this paper explores the continued relevance of Hall's monochronic/polychronic conception of time in light of the advent of mobile communication. Literature Review A salient theme in the research on the social impact of technology is the new temporalities ushered in by the growing use of ICTs7. Such writings note the demise of slow, contemplative time, stemming from the accelerating pace and greater intensity of modern lifestyles. Information overload in lifestyles, facilitated by flourishing opportunities for instant communication8 is a common theme; as is the blurring distinction between public and private times and loss of leisure, especially in the telework arena9. Taking a broad sociological perspective, Castells10 posits that ICT use has resulted in a new perception of time which can be conceptualised in the ostensibly paradoxical term, "timeless time". Timeless time appears when cross connections available in our "network society" constantly interrupt our activities and makes it possible for citizens to be multi-present and active in various places11. Consequently, linear time is obscured as people tend to a never-ending flow of activities. Adam12 and Lash and Urry13 use the term "instantaneous" and Eriksen14, "saturated moments" to describe time which is burdened with manifold activity emerging from ICT use. 7 Abbreviation of Information and Communications Technologies. 8 For example: Castells; Eriksen; Rifkin op. cit 9 For example: D. Gant and S. Kiesler "Blurring the Boundaries: cell phones, Mobility and the Line between Work and Personal Life" in B. Brown, N. Green and R. Harper (Eds.), Wireless World:Social and Interactional Aspects of the Mobile Age, London: Springer-Verlag, 2002, pp. 121-132, and B. Steward "Changing Times: The meaning, measurement and use of time in Teleworking" in Time and Society, vol. 9, no. 1 (2000), pp. 57-74. 10 Castells, op. cit. p.465. 11Castells, Ibid p. 469. 12B. Adam, Time and Social Theory, Oxford: Polity, 1990, p.140. 13 S. Lash and J. Urry, Economies of signs and space, London; Thousand Oaks, CAlif.: Sage, 1994, p. 126. 14 Eriksen, op. cit. p.2.
This is the postprint version of: Chung, L. Y. and Lim, S. S. (2005) From Monochronic to Mobilechronic ­ Temporality in the Era of Mobile Communication. In K. Nyiri (Ed.) A Sense of Place: The Global and the Local in Mobile Communication. Vienna: Passagen Verlag. 267-282 A significant proportion of the literature on ICTs and time, focus specifically on the impact of mobile communication. Katz and Aakhus15 argue that the "perpetual contact" brought about by mobile use, subjects individuals to multiple intrusions in their everyday lives. This connectivity allows individuals to attend to numerous tasks simultaneously. Interruptions are the norm and attention to simultaneous interactions with multiple persons and transactions take priority over following schedules, meeting deadlines, and concentration on one task at a time. These characteristics are much in the vein of polychronic cultures. Also, some studies have observed the enhanced opportunity of mobile users to constantly re-coordinate activities to fill up gaps in their time, whilst waiting for persons or events, to maximise their productivity or leisure. Perry et al16 employ the term "Lazarus device" to describe the mobile as it resurrects unproductive `dead' time. This is akin to polychronic cultures where time is not considered wasted, although in such cultures, it is because time is not seen to have Economic Value. Principally, several academics17 have observed that mobile use encourages dynamic schedules and "just-in-time lifestyles"18. Geser19 notes that there is "more capacity to substitute rigid time scheduling altogether by processes of `gradual approaches' so that time and place of gathering are fixed only just before they occur." He ventures that widespread use of the mobile effects a transformation of social systems from the "solid state of rigid scheduling to a liquid state of permanently ongoing processes of dynamic coordination and renegotiations"20. Again, such mobile temporalities strongly resemble Hall's illustration of the rhythms of polychronic cultures: "Matters in a polychronic culture seem in a constant state of flux. Nothing is solid or firm, particularly plans for the future; even important plans may be changed right up to the minute of execution"21. Whilst the literature insinuates that mobile temporalities are very much polychronic, it is also recognized that old temporalities, like monochronic and industrial, clock time still dominate in some respects. For example, in her study of how mobile 15 J. E. Katz and M. A. Aakhus, "Introduction: framing the issues" In J.E. Katz, and M. A. Aakhus (Eds.), Perpetual Contact: Mobile Communication, Private Talk and Public Performance, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002, p.8. 16M Perry, K. O'Hara, A. Sellen, B. Brown, and R. Harper, "Dealing with mobility: Understanding Access, Anytime Anywhere" in Transactions on Computer Human Interaction, vol. 8, no.4 (2001), pp. 323-347. 17 For example, H. Geser, "Towards a Sociological Theory of the Mobile", Sociology of the Mobile, 2002. Retrieved: Sept, 20, 2003 from http://socio.ch/mobile/_geser1.htm; R. Ling and B. Yttri op. cit., T. Kopomaa, "Mobiles, Place-centred Communication and Virtual Community" in Planning Theory and Practice, vol. 3, no. 2 (2002), pp. 241-245; P. Maenpaa, "Mobile Communication as a Way of Urban Life" in J. Gronow and A. Warde (Eds.), Ordinary Consumption, New York: Routledge, 2001, pp. 125144; and S. Plant, "On the Mobile: The Effects of Mobile Telephones on Social and Individual Life", 2000. Retrieved: 13 September from: http://www.motorola.com/mot/documents/0,1028,333,00.pdf. 18 Haddon, op. cit. p.5. 19 Geser, op. cit. section 4.4, para. 6. 20 Geser, Ibid. section 4.3, para. 5. 21 Hall, op. cit. p. 44.
This is the postprint version of: Chung, L. Y. and Lim, S. S. (2005) From Monochronic to Mobilechronic ­ Temporality in the Era of Mobile Communication. In K. Nyiri (Ed.) A Sense of Place: The Global and the Local in Mobile Communication. Vienna: Passagen Verlag. 267-282 technologies mediate time and space, Green22 found that the new temporalities offered by mobiles are firmly connected with and entrenched in time-based social practices, like institutional "clock time" and subjective "family time". Moreover, prior research has shown that the mobility and instant connectivity offered by the mobile makes it a prime tool for negotiating time budgets, a foremost concern of monochronic cultures. Townsend23 has commented that: "time becomes a commodity that is bought, sold and traded over the phone", while Jaurйguiberry24 asserts that mobile telecommunications are used to increase "cost effectiveness and utilitarianism" of time. Studies which apply Hall's monochronic/polychronic conception of time to ICTassociated temporalities are rare. The exceptions include Lee25 and Lee and Perry26. The papers assert that Hall's conception of time is of great utility in helping us to understand the new, mobile temporality as it sensitises us to the behavioural, perceptual, cultural and mechanical dimensions of time. However, the existing research on mobile communications and time use suggest that predominantly monochronic societies will see growing tensions between monochronicity and polychronicity facilitated by mobile communications. In this regard, this paper suggests that a modification to Hall's existing conception may be appropriate. The following issues are considered, specifically within the context of Singapore: a. In what ways does ubiquitous mobile use lead to polychronic uses and perceptions of time in Singaporean culture? b. When is it regarded as socially acceptable or unacceptable to practise polychronic uses of time mediated by mobile communication and why? c. What is the nature of the tension between old and new temporalities? d. How does this tension affect Singaporeans' quality of life? Methodology Since the research required variety of perspective and discussion of local attitudes, social codes and behaviours, a qualitative research method was deemed appropriate. As focus groups mimic social interaction27, they were conducted to elicit people's opinions on social codes informing mobile telecommunications use. Non- 22 N. Green, "On the Move: technology, mobility, and the mediation of social time and space" in The Information Society, vol. 18, no. 4(2002), p. 281. 23 A. Townsend, "Mobile Communications in the twenty-first century city" in B. Brown, N. Green and R. Harper (Eds.), Wireless World: Social and Interactional Aspects of the Mobile Age, London: Springer-Verlag, 2001, p.70. 24 F. Jaurйguiberry, "Mobile telecommunications and the management of time" in social science Information, vol. 39, no. 2 (2000), p. 255. 25 H. Lee, "Time and Information Technology: monochronicity, polychronicity and temporal symmetry" in European Journal of information systems, vol. 8 (1999), pp.16-26. 26 H. Lee and M. Perry, "Contextualising Virtuality: Polychronicity and Multipresence", Paper presented at International conference on Spacing & Timing. Palermo, Italy, 1-3 November, 2001. 27 D. L. Morgan and R. A. Krueger, "When to use focus groups and why" in D. L. Morgan (Ed.), Successful Focus Groups: Advancing the State of the Art, Newbury Park, California, Sage Publications, 1993, pp. 3-19.
This is the postprint version of: Chung, L. Y. and Lim, S. S. (2005) From Monochronic to Mobilechronic ­ Temporality in the Era of Mobile Communication. In K. Nyiri (Ed.) A Sense of Place: The Global and the Local in Mobile Communication. Vienna: Passagen Verlag. 267-282 participant observation was used to record interaction or changes in activity mediated by mobile use. For both methods, a purposive sample of working adults and students was selected to explore how mobiles are employed to organise time use in the various social domains of work, school, family and leisure. Two focus groups of eight participants each were held. One group comprised working adults and the other, students in tertiary institutions. Participants28 were chosen to represent varying intensity in the use of mobiles to organise schedules, including people who possessed mobile phones, but used them infrequently. The latter's input provides an "outsider's perspective" on mobile users who have naturalised the use of the mobile in coordinating activity. Each session was audio-taped and transcribed. The meaning condensation approach was used to analyse the findings29. Salient themes in the discussion were first identified and recast as brief labels. The interview text was then reorganised under these labels using Microsoft Excel. Non-participant observation was conducted after the focus groups so that fieldwork could be informed by the opinions and anecdotes raised in the discussions. This leg of research aimed to obtain insights on actual time management and possible polychronic behaviours mediated by mobile communications. There was minimal interference with the subject's activity, so that the data replicated as much of the subject's natural behaviour and practices as possible. Eight subjects, half of whom were working adults and the other half, students were each individually shadowed by the same observer for ten hours in a single day. The timing of the observation period for each subject was tailored to span across his work and leisure30. A time-use diary was incorporated into the observation for its ability to reflect the "flavour of how daily life is experienced"31 in a rich, detailed manner, and because it records unexpected activity which is significant to this study. A communication log of the subjects' incoming and outgoing text messages and calls was also kept to tabulate scheduling decisions and demands on the subjects' time mediated via the mobile. Findings and Discussion The significance of the mobile in everyday Singaporean life was evident. The majority of the participants expressed extreme need for their mobiles in the conduct of their everyday lives. In describing how they might feel if they discovered that they had left their mobiles at home for a day, terms like "naked", "insecure", "inadequate", "very empty, very lost", "losing a limb" and "withdrawal symptoms" were used. For these participants, the mobile is a virtual appendage or security blanket of sorts. However, in an oblique reference to the intrusiveness of the mobile, one participant noted that she "wouldn't feel lost at all" and had deliberately left her mobile at home "many, many times". 28 For clarity, people who took part in the focus groups will be referred to as `participants', while those who were observed in the observation studies will be referred to as `subjects'. 29 S. Kvale, InterViews: An Introduction to Qualitative Research Interviewing, Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications, 1996. 30 For example, to get an idea of how Subject X, a working person, used his handphone at work and in leisure, the observation would have started midway through his work-day, and continued after he had stopped work, to see how he used his mobile to coordinate social activities. 31 J.P. Robinson, Time-Diary Evidence about the Social Psychology of Everyday Life. In J. E. McGrath (Ed.), The Social Psychology of Time, p.135, Newbury Park, California: Sage Publications, 1988.
This is the postprint version of: Chung, L. Y. and Lim, S. S. (2005) From Monochronic to Mobilechronic ­ Temporality in the Era of Mobile Communication. In K. Nyiri (Ed.) A Sense of Place: The Global and the Local in Mobile Communication. Vienna: Passagen Verlag. 267-282 Flexibility and Spontaneity Given their heavy reliance on the mobile, it was unsurprising that the mobile played a crucial role in the participants' time-management, as exemplified by this quote: "It's like we don't have alarm clocks anymore! ... [The mobile] takes over everything. I don't even need a calendar in my wallet because my phone is my calendar. I don't have an organizer. I don't have any of these. Everything is just in my phone now. If my phone dies, I die." (Participant 10) The multi-functionality, portability and connectivity of the mobile, make it a key timemanagement tool. The ability to engage in one-to-many "broadcast" communication with the mobile makes it appealing as an expedient scheduling device: "[It's] easier to organize parties and get people to RSVP and organize group gatherings. It's mass message." (Participant 15) Additionally, mobile users are constantly contactable by others and are able to contact others via mobiles to organize activities and negotiate schedules: "The fact that everyone is contactable, it just means that you can call me if I am late. It's OK for me to be late because if you really needed me, you can call me and vice versa." (Participant 14) However, many participants also saw the downside of the `perpetual contact' afforded by the mobile. It has made their lives more stressful, especially in work, where employers and business associates are increasingly contacting employees outside of the official working hours: "I think it makes me more stressed out than anything else. Because my number is basically out there...so my boss used to call me at strange times, at like 1 a.m. to remind me to do certain things the next day. So I think it's caused a lot more stress. Because you're available twenty-four-seven actually. Also because in the field you're in different time zones. I work in the stock exchange and London and New York will call you. So your number is out there for everybody to call you." (Participant 3) Participants were also prompted to compare how they planned their days before and after owning a mobile. Many participants reported that they were less wont to plan their time use: "With my handphone, I tend not to plan my day. And I find that I've become... disorganized, due to my handphone. And I like that kind of lifestyle. I find it `challenging'. It's kind of exciting. You don't really know what you're up to next.
This is the postprint version of: Chung, L. Y. and Lim, S. S. (2005) From Monochronic to Mobilechronic ­ Temporality in the Era of Mobile Communication. In K. Nyiri (Ed.) A Sense of Place: The Global and the Local in Mobile Communication. Vienna: Passagen Verlag. 267-282 Things just flow into your path, and you don't really know it until it happens." (Participant 13) The observation studies offered insights on two main aspects of flexi-scheduling. Firstly, mobile users have the ability to conveniently make and revise appointments on the run. This is evidenced in Table 232 which shows the ease with which a subject organises and repeatedly changes her schedule as she drives about Singapore. Secondly, the code of habitual flexi-scheduling is such that cancellations or changes in appointments are taken in stride, as the convenience of contacting others means that attentions can be readily redirected. Table 3 shows how a subject orchestrates other plans for the night after being stood up by a client. (For a summary of events, read the Commentary section within the table.) 32 In Tables 2-5 with findings from the non-participant observation studies, SMS refers to Short Message System, which are alphanumeric text messages of up to 160 characters which can be sent asynchronously via GSM mobile telephones.
This is the postprint version of: Chung, L. Y. and Lim, S. S. (2005) From Monochronic to Mobilechronic ­ Temporality in the Era of Mobile Communication. In K. Nyiri (Ed.) A Sense of Place: The Global and the Local in Mobile Communication. Vienna: Passagen VeTrlaagb. 2le672-28S2ubject 1's Scheduling Activities I
No. Time Activity/Priority: (P)rimary' or (S)econdary'
Subject
Demeanour
1 1230 (P) Parks car at friend's workplace. (S) Calls agent from Relaxed
condominium to discuss the unit she viewed.
2 1231 (P) Calls Jiahui to tell her she has arrived and is waiting downstairs. (S) Waiting in car.
3 1233 (P) Answers call from housing agent to postpone 1400hrs meeting to 1530hrs.
----------------------------------Elapsed time: 1:06 hrs------------------------------------------------
4 1339 (P) SMSes Harry who's postponing 2000hrs meeting
Relaxed
today that they can meet next weekend. (S) Sits inside
car waiting for car to cool down.
5 1340 (P) Tells colleague who is supposed to meet Harry with her that meeting at 2000hrs today is cancelled.
6 1341 (P) SMSes condominium agent from (1) that family will meet her on Sunday at 1600hrs.
7 1342 (P) Calls friend to arrange for discount at condominium.
8 1344 (P) SMSes Shake confirming appointment at 1700hrs today.
9 1344 (P) Receives SMS from Shake confirming appointment.
10 1345 (P) Calls associate to arrange Geomancer consultation and fortune telling for condominium.
----------------------------------Elapsed time:0:49 hrs------------------------------------------------
11 1431 (P) Receives SMS while walking around condominium
showroom. Mentor agreeing to meet at 1730hrs.
(S) Sits in car after leaving showroom, waiting for it to
cool.
----------------------------------Elapsed time:0:40 hrs------------------------------------------------
12 1509 (P) Receives SMS from agent in (6) that she will get
back to Subject via SMS to confirm Sunday
appointment. (S) Walks around clearing trash.
13 1512 (P) SMSes Ian to meet at 2000hrs instead of 1800hrs.
Bored
(S) Watching TV, waiting for housing agent.
14 1513 (P) SMSes Ping in response to SMS invite from him to
watch movie tonight. Declines invitation. (S) Watching
TV, waiting for housing agent.
15 1515 (P) SMSes mentor changing 1730hrs meeting to
1630hrs. (S) Watching TV, waiting for housing agent.
16 1516 (P) Ping from (14) SMSes to insist on watching film
Sleepy
still. (S) Watching TV, waiting for housing agent.
17 1517 (P) SMSes Ping to say she is not free, updates him on
what she is doing at work. (S) Watching TV, waiting for
housing agent.
18 1518 (P) SMS from Ian who is supposed to meet Subject at
2000hrs cancels.
19 1547 (P) SMS from mentor saying `OK' to 1630hrs
"Where is
appointment.
that housing
agent?"
Commentary At Paya Lebar Industrial Estate. Subject waiting in car for friend to come down from office for lunch. Housing Agent appointment shifted from 1400 to 1530. Still at Paya Lebar. Subject waiting for her car to cool down because it was parked in the hot sun. Subject confirms various work appointments for the day: - Postpones 2000hrs meeting with Harry (client) to next weekend. - Tells condominium agent her family will meet her Sunday 1600hrs. - Confirms 1700hrs appointment with Shake (Client). - Calls friend to help her make appointment with Geomancer. At Savannah Condominium Park. Subject waiting at home for housing agent and prospective buyers for flatviewing. Scheduling: - Postpones meeting with Ian from 1800hrs to 2000hrs. - Declines invitation from Ping to meet for movie tonight. - Asks mentor to meet at 1630hrs instead of 1730hrs. -Ian cancels 2000hrs meeting altogether. - Mentor agrees to meet at 1730hrs.
This is the postprint version of: Chung, L. Y. and Lim, S. S. (2005) From Monochronic to Mobilechronic ­ Temporality in the Era of Mobile Communication. In K. Nyiri (Ed.) A Sense of Place: The Global and the Local in Mobile Communication. Vienna: Passagen VeTrlaagb. 2le673-28S2ubject 1's Scheduling Activities II
No. Time Activity/Priority: (P)rimary or (S)econdary
Subject
Demeanour
1 1800 (P) Calls Shake to tell him the meeting today is
Slightly
postponed to next Wednesday. (S) Sitting at desk.
annoyed
2 1803 (P) SMSes Tiffany to ask if she wants to meet up for
drinks after work. (S) Sitting at desk.
3 1805 (P) SMS from Tiffany to say she knocks off at 2100hrs.
(S) Sitting at desk.
4 1815 (P) SMSes Shake to call her back.
5 1832 (P) SMSes Tiffany that she cannot meet.
6 1835 (P) SMS from Tiffany that they can meet up for lunch
tomorrow, will confirm tomorrow.
----------------------------------Elapsed time:0:47 hrs------------------------------------------------
7 1922 (P) Eating dinner at cafй. (S) Answers call from
boyfriend, Boon who asks what Subject is doing later.
8 1947 (P) Eating. (S) SMS from Colleague asking where a
stack of files is.
9 1950 (P) Pays for dinner. (S) Shake who stood Subject up
SMSes to ask if she wants to have a drink at River
Valley at 2100hrs.
----------------------------------Elapsed time:0:12 hrs------------------------------------------------
10 2002 (P) Shops for gift for boss' baby. (S) Agent calls to
confirm appointment on Sunday.
11 2020 (P) Sits down at shopping centre alone to wait for Shake Bored
to knock off work.
12 2026 (P) Calls colleague to discuss work.
13 2027 (P) Calls Shake to discuss having drinks at River Valley.
14 2029 (P) Calls Shake to tell him she changed her mind.
Arranges to meet on Wednesday.
15 2031 (P) Calls boyfriend to ask about plans. Boyfriend says
he will find out from friends and get back to her.
16 2032 (P) Calls Gilbert to tell him she has bought present for
boss' baby.
17 2033 (P) Answers boyfriend's call to say he will be coming
over to where she is at 2115hrs for drinks.
----------------------------------Elapsed time:0:16 hrs------------------------------------------------
18 2049 (P) Driving to Geylang. (S) Answers boyfriend's call to
tell her venue is changed to East Coast.
----------------------------------Elapsed time:1:08 hrs------------------------------------------------
19 2157 (P) At cafй chatting with friends. (S) Colleague calls to Relaxed
ask where Ian is.
Commentary After having a client, called Shake, stand her up, Subject has nothing to do. She sits at desk messaging friends for drinks after work. Bored with no plans, Subject sits down at public seats in shopping centre and starts to call people to ask what they are up to. Subject decides to meet the client who stood her up earlier, Shake, for drinks, only to change her mind 2 minutes later to meet her boyfriend and friends instead. Whilst calling people, she takes out her second mobile to check if she has any SMSes. She drives to Geylang where her boyfriend and she agree to meet initially, but he calls her midway to change the venue to East Coast, and she is unruffled as she changes her direction. At close to 2200hrs at night, when she is relaxing with her friends, her colleague calls her to ask about work, but despite the intrusion, she is pleasant about it.
This is the postprint version of: Chung, L. Y. and Lim, S. S. (2005) From Monochronic to Mobilechronic ­ Temporality in the Era of Mobile Communication. In K. Nyiri (Ed.) A Sense of Place: The Global and the Local in Mobile Communication. Vienna: Passagen Verlag. 267-282 Such spontaneity and flexibility is a prime example of polychronic practices with mobile communications. While many participants appeared to find such polychronic practices liberating, some found the unpredictability and absence of firm plans frustrating. The observation studies demonstrated how the ability to negotiate spontaneous appointments via the mobile is a double-edged sword. While it can increase one's social opportunities, such nebulous chain-sequencing of events can paradoxically prove constraining and unsettling given the mutability of plans. Table 4 illustrates how a subject is suddenly presented with impromptu appointments but eventually gets so frustrated with the vagueness of the meeting plans that he decides to abort all plans and to stay at home.
This is the postprint version of: Chung, L. Y. and Lim, S. S. (2005) From Monochronic to Mobilechronic ­ Temporality in the Era of Mobile Communication. In K. Nyiri (Ed.) A Sense of Place: The Global and the Local in Mobile Communication. Vienna: Passagen Verlag. 267-282 Table 4 Subject 6's Meeting Arrangements
No. Time Activity/Priority: (P)rimary' or (S)econdary'
Subject
Demeanour
1 1115 (P) Watching TV. (S) SMSes Nat to ask what time his Relaxed
work is over.
2 1115 (P) Watching TV. (S) SMS from Annie that she will be
passing by his place in 5 mins. Asks if he wants to go to
funfair.
3 1116 (P) Watching TV. (S) SMSes Annie to say "OK".
4 1117 (P) Reading Newspaper. (S) Watching TV.
5 1130 (P) Answer's Annie's call to say she is waiting in
carpark.
6 1135 (P) Gets into Annie's car and heads down to fair.
----------------------------------Elapsed time:0:42 hrs------------------------------------------------
7 1217 (P) Walks around funfair (S) Eating, (S) Calls Annie
because he has lost sight of her.
8 1242 (P) Sitting down eating lunch. (S) Answers call from old
school mate, Regina.
----------------------------------Elapsed time:0:42 hrs------------------------------------------------
9 1312 (P) Answers call from Sandy, telling him she spotted
him but he didn't see her. Mutual friends Wendy and
Kelvin are coming to fun fair, so they should meet up.
(S) Eating.
10 1351 (P) Calls Wendy to ask her and Kelvin what time they
will arrive. (S) Sitting down.
11 1424 (P) SMSes Kelvin what time he will arrive at funfair. (S)
Walking around funfair.
12 1427 (P) Answers call from Wendy regarding where to meet.
(S) Walking around funfair.
13 1430 (P) Meets Wendy, Kelvin and Karen and Sandy, whom
just joined them to chat.
14 1445 (P) Leaves fun fair, taking taxi home.
----------------------------------Elapsed time:1:01 hrs------------------------------------------------
15 1544 (P) Calls Wendy to say Nat is free for dinner this
Relaxed
evening after work in town. Asks if she and Kelvin want
to meet both of them. (S) Watching TV.
16 1609 (P) Answers Annie's call to ask if the Subject would like
to catch dinner. Subject says he will get back to her to
join them if Wendy and Kelvin want to meet Nat. (S)
Playing computer games.
----------------------------------Elapsed time:1:30 hrs------------------------------------------------
17 1739 (P) Watching TV. (S) SMS from Clara to ask if Subject
wants to catch dinner.
18 1758 (P) Watching TV. (S) SMSes Clara to ask her where she
would like dinner. Says he is at home.
19 1759 (P) Watching TV. (S) SMS from Jenny asking what
Subject has been up to recently. (S) SMSes Clara that he
will eat at home to save money.
Commentary Subject at home. Has no plans for the day, and asks his friend Nat what time he gets off work in town, so that they can meet. Annie calls suddenly to say she has the car and will be driving by Subject's place soon. She asks him to go to their alma mater funfair, which he agrees to. Regina, an old school mate, hears from a mutual friend that Subject is at the same funfair and calls him to meet up. Subject's friend Sandy spots Subject in the crowd and tells him their mutual friends Wendy and Kelvin may be coming down sometime later and asks Subject to wait for them. Subject waits around for over an hour until they come with unexpected guest Karen. Subject suddenly recalls that Nat is free in the evening for dinner and tries to round Wendy and Kelvin for dinner with them both. Annie calls for a dinner companion and since she knows all the above parties, she is invited, but only if all are able to meet. Subject's friend Clara sources for a dinner mate as well. But she does not know Wendy, Kelvin, Nat and Annie so well so she is not invited. In the end, Subject is tired of waiting around for his friends to make a decision on dinner that he decides to eat at home.
This is the postprint version of: Chung, L. Y. and Lim, S. S. (2005) From Monochronic to Mobilechronic ­ Temporality in the Era of Mobile Communication. In K. Nyiri (Ed.) A Sense of Place: The Global and the Local in Mobile Communication. Vienna: Passagen Verlag. 267-282 Frustration with flexi-scheduling may emanate from a regard for time which is characteristic of Singapore's previously dominant monochronic culture. As time here is considered a precious and finite resource, the inability to firm up schedules for efficient time management is a source of annoyance: "I hate that...sometimes you try to settle things with someone and then they say they're not sure, `Can I call you back in an hour? Half an hour?'. And then you wait and wait and wait, and I'm like, `If I have to wait any longer, I'm just gonna kill myself'." (Participant 15) Multiple Intrusions and Unpunctuality Another aspect of polychronic behaviour encouraged by mobile communications is that of attending to multiple activities simultaneously. The mobile's one-to-one voice function and its one-to-many and many-to-one message functions, enable users to communicate with several parties at once. The mobile virtually plays the role of a "third party" in a face-to-face conversation: "[W]ith the handphone, you can `date' so much more people...you're here with me and I'm on my date with you and we're doing something together. And yet I am on the phone with so many people, messaging them and then talking to them at the same time, arranging to meet..." (Participant 10) Still, multiple demands on one's attention could also be perceived negatively, especially by those who are bearing the brunt of such intrusions. The following exchange generated resonation and agreement from most of the participants: "Participant 9: I don't like it when I'm with a friend...[and] it keeps ringing and ringing, and he or she just doesn't bother and just keeps picking up. It's very distracting. Participant 12: Like `Switch your damn phone off already!' Participant 9: Or watching a movie with me and just keeps messaging and messaging. Participant 15: Yeah, I think that's super annoying." Mobile-enabled intrusions can range from being minor, e.g. interrupting the flow of conversation, to major, e.g. disrupting planned events. One participant spoke of her friend's habit of prioritizing spontaneously arranged activity over ongoing activity with her, which consequently strained their friendship: "If I was supposedly meeting you at twelve, then I'd have thought that I'd be meeting you for the whole day. Then at two you're telling me, `Oh I need to go off'... because I've got a friend like that. It happened to me a few times and then I
This is the postprint version of: Chung, L. Y. and Lim, S. S. (2005) From Monochronic to Mobilechronic ­ Temporality in the Era of Mobile Communication. In K. Nyiri (Ed.) A Sense of Place: The Global and the Local in Mobile Communication. Vienna: Passagen Verlag. 267-282 got really pissed off. I felt that this friend was not placing importance on me, so...I don't really keep in touch with her anymore. For me that's very irritating." (Participant 7) The observation studies confirmed how disruptive the mobile can be in the conduct of one's life. Table 5 exemplifies how a working subject had her attentions taxed by persistent contact by customers and colleagues throughout the day. According to Jaurйguiberry33, the accessibility of mobile users and amount of disruption they have to endure is dependent upon the power they possess in relation to others wishing to contact them. In this instance, the subject being a relatively junior member of her firm, is duty bound to be available for work-related calls. It could be discerned that mobile users like this subject, who exercise little control over their time, potentially suffer from considerable stress. 33 Jaurйguiberry op. cit., p. 267.
This is the postprint version of: Chung, L. Y. and Lim, S. S. (2005) From Monochronic to Mobilechronic ­ Temporality in the Era of Mobile Communication. In K. Nyiri (Ed.) A Sense of Place: The Global and the Local in Mobile Communication. Vienna: Passagen VeTrlaagb. 2le675-28S2ubject 2's Multiple Intrusions and Activities
No. Time Activity/Priority: (P)rimary' or (S)econdary'
Subject
Demeanour
1 1257 (P) Gets into Mark's van for a lift to Liang Court.
Tired
2 1300 (P) Gets into quarrel with Mark in van.
Worked up
3 1318 (P) Reaches Liang Court to "spy" on competitors.
4 1319 (P)Walking around Liang Court (S) Daniel calls to set
up lunch appointment. Subject says "See you in half an
hour at Beach Road."
5 1320 (P) Walking around Liang Court (S) Receives SMS
Annoyed
from Mark continuing quarrel from van on her
punctuality. (S)
6 1321 (P) Walking around Liang Court (S) Receives SMS
Annoyed
from Mark continuing quarrel from van.
7 1322 (P) Walking around Liang Court (S) Receives SMS
Annoyed
from Mark continuing quarrel from van.
----------------------------------Elapsed time:0:23 hrs------------------------------------------------
8 1345 (P) Waiting at bus stop for Bus to City Hall
Annoyed
----------------------------------Elapsed time:0:07 hrs------------------------------------------------
9 1352 (P)In bus, SMSes Mark back sarcastically "You're
always right and I'm always wrong. Sorry I was late."
----------------------------------Elapsed time:0:24 hrs------------------------------------------------
10 1354 (P) Walking to Beach Road. (S) Receives SMS from
Distracted,
Mark saying sarcastically, "OK, I'm always wrong"
SMSes while
crossing road,
not looking at
traffic.
11 1355 (P) Walking to Beach Road. (S) Receives SMS from
Out loud:
Mark, continuing quarrel
"Sickening!
Sickening!
Sickening!"
12 1405 (P) Answers client call and stops at roadside.
Pleasant
sounding
14 1409 (P) Walking (S) Receives SMS from Daniel to ask
Apologetic
where Subject is, Subject says "On the way."
15 1417 (P) Arrives at Beach Road lunch place, standing at lunch Interrupts call
mate's table. (S) Talks to Denise from office who is
with: "Hey
calling to ask why Mark is so angry.
my ear is very
sweaty and
hot from the
phone. I call
you back."
16 1420 (P) Sits down to order lunch (S) Answers call from
Tired.
Denise.
17 1423 (P) Eating (S) Talks to lunch mate
18 1433 (P) Answers client call for food order.
----------------------------------Elapsed time:0:55 hrs------------------------------------------------
19 1518 (P) On bus on way back to office. (S) Receives SMS
Very angry
from Mark, scolding Subject.
20 1522 ((P) Reaches office. (S) Receives SMS from Mark,
Ignores client
scolding Subject.
calling on
work mobile
21 1530 (P) Makes landline call to Chinatown kitchen to inquire Stressed
who ordered Mark to do a delivery.
22 1531 (P) Cuts short landline call to pick up work mobile to
Pleasant to
take client order.
customer.
23 1535 (P) Calls Chinatown kitchen again to continue previous Stressed
conversation.
24 1536 (P) Client from `22' calls to rectify order.
Pleasant
sounding
25 1541 (P) Calls Chinatown kitchen again to press on about
Angry
Mark's delivery.
Commentary Subject gets into quarrel with colleague Mark over her punctuality. He faults her for being "late 85% of the time". Mark sends 3 lengthy SMSes continuing quarrel from van. Subject looks troubled and does not want to reply. She stomps feet at bus stop and groans: "This is such a bad day!" While walking to Beach Road for an appointment, Subject receives mixture of client and office calls and SMS from Mark and lunch mate. Subject is late by nearly half an hour for lunch appointment set at 1350hrs, but keeps stalling to answer calls and SMS. Puts bag and folder on roadside fence and writes order in book propped on fence. Subject arrives at lunch place, but is on the mobile. She has no time to say "Hi" to her lunch mate who has been kept waiting for 30 Minutes. Subject tries to eat lunch but colleague Denise and client call in between, and Subject has to call office to convey order. Subject tries to carry on conversation on landline to investigate the matter over which Mark is angry. However, she is constantly interrupted by client calls. She has to switch between sounding pleasant to customers, and letting it show how annoyed she is.
This is the postprint version of: Chung, L. Y. and Lim, S. S. (2005) From Monochronic to Mobilechronic ­ Temporality in the Era of Mobile Communication. In K. Nyiri (Ed.) A Sense of Place: The Global and the Local in Mobile Communication. Vienna: Passagen Verlag. 267-282
26 1549 (P) Subject while she is on the landline, trying to talk to Very angry,
the chef. (S) Listening to Mark scolding her in the
raised voice.
background.
27 1554 (P) Hangs up landline conversation to respond to Mark's
accusations.
28 1600 (P) Shouting match with Mark till boss intervenes.
Rage.
29 1603 (P) Subject calls customers on landline for feedback on Stoic, put off.
food delivery.
30 1627 (P) SMSes Mark who is not around, to continue quarrel.
31 1630 (P) Subject going through feedback forms (S) Receives
SMS from Mark.
32 1632 (P) Mark-Subject SMS quarrel.
----------------------------------Elapsed time:0:44 hrs------------------------------------------------
33 1716 (P) Mark-Subject SMS quarrel.
34 1719 (P) Mark-Subject SMS quarrel.
35 1720 (P) Puts phone down, leaves for toilet.
36 1721 (P) Mark-Subject SMS quarrel.
Subject says
"I'm going to
kill myself
already!"
37 1730 (P) Sits down at desk to make landline calls for
Distracted
customer feedback.
38 1732 (P) Answers client call to take order at desk.
Pleasant
sounding
39 1734 (P) Mark-Subject SMS quarrel.
Stoic, put off
40 1735 (P) Mark-Subject SMS quarrel.
41 1740 (P) Left work, walking to train station
42 1745 (P) Stops on train station steps to answer client call to Pleasant
take order.
sounding,
slightly
flustered.
43 1746 (P) Calls office to convey order.
44 1747 (P) Answers client call to revise order.
45 1748 (P) Answers office call, and says she has incoming call,
will call back.
46 1750 (P) Answers another client call for order for tonight.
47 1753 (P) Calls office to convey order.
48 1753 (P) Waits at Station Entrance for call.
Shouting match with Mark. Subject tries to work, and colleagues try to talk to her about work, but Subject is very distracted in conducting a quarrel with Mark over SMS. Mark is SMSing her from under the office building. She abandons work altogether and spends a whole hour exchanging 30 lengthy SMSes with Mark. He SMSes her on her personal mobile and but switches to work mobile, when she does not answer. When Mark comes back after the 30th SMS, she tries to work but is too distracted. Subject leaves the office early when she cannot endure it anymore. Subject tries to walk down train station steps, but stops when a client's call comes in. Squats on station steps to write order (44) down, ignoring curious stares from passers-by. She walks down two steps, only to get another call (46) from another client. She wants to get into the train but has to wait for a call, in case there is no reception.
This is the postprint version of: Chung, L. Y. and Lim, S. S. (2005) From Monochronic to Mobilechronic ­ Temporality in the Era of Mobile Communication. In K. Nyiri (Ed.) A Sense of Place: The Global and the Local in Mobile Communication. Vienna: Passagen Verlag. 267-282 However, participants articulated that they have devised strategies to limit the amount of intrusions they are open to. These ranged from using caller-ID and tailored ringtones for specific caller groups to inform their response times, to deceptive excuses for cutting off unwelcome contact altogether: "I'll just pretend I have a bad reception. [Mimics holding mobile to ear and pretending to be frantic.] `Hello? Hello? Where are you? I'm losing you! OK, oops! Sorry, bye!'." (Participant 14) "Just say `I'm going under a tunnel now. Bye!'." (Participant 9) Another principal concern about the polychronic attendance to multiple activities related to punctuality. Monochronic traditions in Singapore have conditioned people to assign value to punctuality and respect for other people's time. As one participant put it: "Punctuality really counts and it really shows who you are...time is really money... if I'm late, it sets an impression already. My client would definitely, probably think that I can't be trusted..." (Participant 14) This theme incited the most animated discussion and heated responses amongst participants. Many claimed that the ease of mobile communication actually promotes unpunctuality and last-minute cancellations. Some participants also noted that the mobile may also encourage last-minute cancellations by allowing one to avoid face-to-face confrontations and to "hide" behind an electronically-mediated message: "SMS, the medium, perpetuates last-minute cancellations ...because of the `no confrontation' thing. It's like I don't have to see your `black34' face when I message you that I am not feeling well, whether true or not, and cannot meet. Even if you are out already, diligently waiting for me." (Participant 9) `Old' and `New' Temporalities The relative novelty of the mobile, and the polychronic behaviour which it facilitates, appear to have resulted in a `new' polychronic temporality as opposed to Singapore's `old', previously dominant monochronic temporality. This emergent polychronicity seems to rest uncomfortably on Singaporeans' originally monochronic regard for time: "I tend to go late to wherever because of my handphone. Like your friends turn up late and then you turn up late. And they condition you to turn up late. And it's a vicious circle where you keep shifting your plans and appointments. It's tempting you to turn up late because you can tell them 30 seconds beforehand in a message `Oh I'll be late.' I also know it's quite bad, and I don't like it. I used to be 34 Colloquial term for `unhappy'.
This is the postprint version of: Chung, L. Y. and Lim, S. S. (2005) From Monochronic to Mobilechronic ­ Temporality in the Era of Mobile Communication. In K. Nyiri (Ed.) A Sense of Place: The Global and the Local in Mobile Communication. Vienna: Passagen Verlag. 267-282 punctual before I had the handphone. I don't like wasting people's time and I want them to respect my time also. But it's become like that." (Participant 16) In polychronic cultures, time is seldom considered wasted. Therefore cancellations and changes of plans are not viewed as grave inconveniences like they are in traditionally monochronic cultures. This is because polychronic peoples can always engage in one of their many other concurrent activities. However, the participants revealed their monochronic tendencies when they strongly asserted that advance notice should be given before cancelling an appointment via the mobile. Opinions on what was considered sufficient notice ranged from an hour to at least half a day. But it was generally agreed that it was alright as long as the other party had not set out for the appointment. With regard to responding to mobile text or voice messages, there was considerable divergence amongst the participants on socially acceptable response times. For SMS, some participants felt that replying immediately was the polite thing to do, while others felt that it depended on the caller and the nature of the message. However, voice calls were generally accorded higher priority than SMS: "[I]f they don't answer SMS straight away, that's just so rude." (Participant 9) "...expectations for SMS would be lower in that sense. I wouldn't really expect people to reply [instantly]." (Participant 11) "...for phone calls, if there's a missed call, I do expect the person to call back in an hour or so...because phone calls are for more pressing matters..." (Participant 15) SMS is a relatively new medium whose usage is testing existing temporal standards. With no real equivalent in `old' media, it is unsurprising that mobile users are equivocal about the priority which should be accorded to SMS messages. Opinions on the growing phenomenon of unpunctuality were also equivocal as participants' attitudes ranged from ambivalence to outright annoyance. Interestingly, some participants engaged in mobile-enabled polychronic behaviour to maintain their monochronic schedules. One participant, who meets several clients a day, revealed her surreptitious manner of managing her time via her mobile: "...when my [first] client takes up a lot more time, and I have to delay my meeting with the client after that, I make the effort to interrupt the first client to call the other client. And I do it in front of the first client, to show them how I respect other people's time, and to also hint to him to wrap up because I have to be somewhere else soon. But of course you do it in a nice way so you don't give people the impression that you are secretly blaming him: `...[you] take so much of my time! Spoil my schedule!'" (Participant 14)
This is the postprint version of: Chung, L. Y. and Lim, S. S. (2005) From Monochronic to Mobilechronic ­ Temporality in the Era of Mobile Communication. In K. Nyiri (Ed.) A Sense of Place: The Global and the Local in Mobile Communication. Vienna: Passagen Verlag. 267-282 This is further evidence of a constant interplay between monochronicity and polychronicity and the adaptations of mobile users to these two temporal modes, depending on situational exigencies. Conclusion This paper has explored how culturally-specific social norms and practices interact with the new temporalities arising from the growth of mobile communication, as advocated by Haddon35 and Green36. The findings show that use of the mobile is encouraging polychronic practices. The portability and connectivity of the mobile make it a key tool in the spontaneous and flexible co-ordination of schedules and activities. The mobile users studied reflected being less likely to plan their days in advance. While some see this unpredictability as a boon, others regard it as a source of stress, in part due to the multiple intrusions which the mobile enables. Again, while some see these intrusions as an efficient means of maximising their time, others consider them rude and disorienting. The main concern with the impact of the mobile on time however, related to punctuality as many see the mobile as the cause for a growing trend towards unpunctuality and lastminute cancellations of appointments. This trend was attributed by participants to the ease and non-interpersonality of mobile communication. While Singapore is seemingly moving towards polychronicity, monochronic principles of time management are still being observed in Singaporean culture. Hence it might be specious to re-categorise Singaporean culture from `monochronic' to `polychronic'. Instead, Singaporean mobile users constantly negotiate between the two temporal modes, and informed by old and new social codes, decide when it is appropriate for polychronic uses of time mediated by the mobile. In light of these findings, it is suggested that with the advent of mobile communications, Hall's monochronic/polychronic dichotomy, while still bearing considerable utility, may be inadequate for understanding the temporalities in a culture with ubiquitous mobile use. A hybrid temporality appears to exist where people in predominantly monochronic cultures are engaging in more polychronic behaviour facilitated by the mobile. It is proposed that this hybrid temporality be termed "mobilechronic". Here, "mobile" can be understood on three levels. First, at the most patent level, this hybrid temporality is facilitated by the mobile. Second, "mobile" refers to the constant change and adaptation from monochronic to polychronic behaviour and vice versa, in previously monochronic societies which are witnessing more mobileenabled polychronic behaviour. Mobile users navigate between monochronic and polychronic modes and have to nimbly decide which temporality prevails in which settings given the emerging social codes and practices associated with mobile usage. Third, because mobile technology is itself in a state of flux, the new temporalities associated with mobile technology will also be changing constantly. 35 L. Haddon, "Time and ICTs". Paper presented at the workshop Researching Time. ESRC Centre for Research on Innovation and Competition. Manchester, United Kingdom, 2001. 36 Green, op. cit.
This is the postprint version of: Chung, L. Y. and Lim, S. S. (2005) From Monochronic to Mobilechronic ­ Temporality in the Era of Mobile Communication. In K. Nyiri (Ed.) A Sense of Place: The Global and the Local in Mobile Communication. Vienna: Passagen Verlag. 267-282 The principal limitations of this study lie in the small sample comprising only young Singaporeans which impinges on the generalisability of the data. Nonetheless, this study could serve as a useful springboard for others who wish to explore the frustrations and freedoms of everyday living for mobile users from the perspective of temporal orientation.

LY Chung, SS Lim

File: from-monochronic-to-mobilechronic-temporality-in-the-era-of-mobile.pdf
Author: LY Chung, SS Lim
Author: yook
Published: Sat Jun 14 01:31:30 2014
Pages: 20
File size: 0.42 Mb


Seizing the light, 4 pages, 0.12 Mb

, pages, 0 Mb

Inquiries Bill [HL, 40 pages, 0.27 Mb

Viet Pulp, 14 pages, 0.04 Mb
Copyright © 2018 doc.uments.com