<img src="http://larvatusprodeo.net/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/large_0212-sleep.jpg" align=left In doing a bit of reading for a couple of courses I’m teaching this semester, I was struck recently by the concision with which Mark Deuze pings how mediated so many aspects of our everyday lives now are – and how he deftly places this constant mediation – through email, mobile phones, the intertubes, and so much more – in its sociological context, leveraging off the work of Zygmunt Bauman. Some day, when I have time, I’ll have more to say about that, and there’s lots of nifty academic research – a fair bit from my colleagues at QUT’s Creative Industries Faculty – which is exploring many of the ramifications of everyday mediation. Loath as I normally am as a sociologist to believe the new new anything really is fundamentally new under the sun, I am starting to be convinced that a shift in the conditions of our everyday lives is taking place, though I’m totally unconvinced by claims that it’s “dumbing us down” or whatever.
It’s a real pity that the dead tree media still choose to frame all these complex and overdetermined shifts in “internet and technology evil” or “internet and technology brilliant” dichotomies – the latest, though by far one of the least egregious, being sleep deprivation and increased stress from social media and entertainment technologies – not, mind you, from the effective disappearance of any boundary between work and non-work for many folks, which may in fact be much more serious an issue. Laurel Papworth has a neat post satirising the latest “OMG!” meme, but I thought it might be interesting to throw it open for discussion and to treat it seriously – what are the downsides and upsides of being “always on”?