Stacey D’Erasmo, writing for the New Yorker online about how the internet is changing our relationship to time:
If it’s an anxious moment concerning time, it’s also a playful and expansive one. All temporal bets are off, including, given climate change, the seasons. It’s still one earth, but it is now subtended by a layer of highly elastic non-time, wild time, that is akin to a global collective unconscious wherein past, present, and future occupy one unmediated plane.
I’ve long thought that one of the reasons adult life feels like it passes much more quickly is that most adults no longer have the sign posts of the school year to keep track of time passing. But it occurs to me with this article that many other sign posts have gone away.
With the advent of time-shifted television, we no longer pin days of the week to certain TV programs. With the advent of email, we no longer feel the passing of time between sending a letter and receiving a response. With the advent of digital photography, we no longer have to get our photos developed. With the advent of Facebook, we no longer have to wait for Christmas cards to see pictures of the people we used to know, and their children.
It's not an original observation, but there is a downside to eliminating all this waiting. I once told a co-worker that whenever I was forced to restart my computer, it always felt like the least productive two minutes of my entire life. It's perhaps inevitable that the more digital technology reduces the time we used to spend waiting for things, the less patient we become.