“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.” -Mark Twain –
As I say goodbye (or good riddance) to 2016 I cannot help reflect on the way technology dominated our time. From checking updates on social media sites to strapping on gadgets to track our behaviors, technology was used at unprecedented levels. The jury is still out on whether or not this is a good or bad thing. However, there is an undeniable truth – technology is reshaping the way we view time. I think it must be similar to the arrival of the town clock in 12th century Europe when people no longer had to rely on the sun’s place over the sky to gauge the time of day and instead could count the number of bell strikes. The simple ability to give people more accurate perceptions of time redefined daily life. In particular, as the town clock became more prevalent across Europe the post (or post office) was able to create a systematic way to deliver messages. People had the opportunity to communicate in a different way by having a more accurate timeline of when someone would receive their message. The same holds true today as we use technology to track time differently. For example, the way social networking sites time keep in the form of status updates or shared experiences. Or the fit bits we wear on our wrists keeping track of time not in minutes but in calories burned. Technology even influences the way employees negotiate boundaries between professional and personal time. For instance, France recently gave its citizens the legal right to disconnect from work obligations outside the office (e.g., emails). With the calendar reset to 2017, I can’t help but wonder what the long term effects are of changing our perceptions of time.