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Political information cycles and the political economy of time

From Andrew Chadwick’s The Hybrid Media System pg 101:

Political information cycles rest upon a subtle political economy of time. This involves not only the often-rehearsed “speeding up” or “efficiency” of communication but also the importance of continuous attention and the ability to create and to act on information in a timely manner. Those who recognize the importance of time and the circulation of information—when to act quickly, when to delay, when to devote intensive attention to the pursuit of a goal, when to repeat, when to act alone, and when to coordinate—are more likely to be powerful. The logic of newer media enables a more diverse range of actors to shape time in order to pursue their values and interests. In an era when we are surrounded by clichés such as “always-on connectivity” and “24/ 7 media,” and when we are witnessing seemingly contradictory phenomena such as the simultaneous shrinkage and extension of news cycles, the economy of time is a neglected but crucial force in political communication. In the contemporary era, those who have the resources to intervene in the political information cycle are more able to exercise power; those who lack these resources are less able to be powerful in political life.

This is an incredibly important point to understand what I tend to call chronopolitics. In spite of the diffuse claims which tend to be associated with a term like acceleration, agents have differential capacities to cope with speeding up and in some cases it’s an opportunity rather than a threat.

Categories: Platform and agency The Platform University

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