Randall PatnodeJul 12, 2023
The Synchronized Society
Time and Control From Broadcasting to the Internet
Rutgers University Press 2023
The Synchronized Society: Time and Control From Broadcasting to the Internet (Rutgers University Press, 2023) by Dr. Randall Patnode traces the history of the synchronous broadcast experience of the twentieth century and the transition to the asynchronous media that dominate today. Broadcasting grew out of the latent desire by nineteenth-century industrialists, political thinkers, and social reformers to tame an unruly society by controlling how people used their time.
The idea manifested itself in the form of the broadcast schedule, a managed flow of information and entertainment that required audiences to be in a particular place – usually the home – at a particular time and helped to create “water cooler” moments, as audiences reflected on their shared media texts. Audiences began disconnecting from the broadcast schedule at the end of the twentieth century, but promoters of social media and television services still kept audiences under control, replacing the schedule with surveillance of media use.
Dr. Randall Patnode offers compelling new insights into the intermingled roles of broadcasting and industrial/post-industrial work and how Americans spend their time.
This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose doctoral work focused on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars.