In Sync, but Apart: Temporal Symmetry, Social Synchronicity, and Digital Connectedness

Networks, Hacking, and Media – CITA MS@30: Now and Then and Tomorrow

ISBN: 978-1-78769-666-2, eISBN: 978-1-78769-665-5

ISSN: 2050-2060

Publication date: 27 November 2018

Abstract

The American Sociological Association Communication, Information Technology, and Media Sociology (CITAMS) section has long been concerned with the processes by which social connectedness and solidarity are created in a technology-rich, digitized society. In this chapter, the role of temporal symmetry in facilitating social synchronicity and digital connectedness is explored. Unity through simultaneity, which develops when spatially separated people focus on the same things at the same time, was conceptualized by sociologist Eviatar Zerubavel in a largely pre-digital age (1981) and coined as temporal symmetry. The concept has great relevance for the digital era and helps to explain why social media and digital technology have become so popular, consequential, and, indeed, indispensable in modern everyday life. The chapter explains how temporal symmetry is generated via digital technology in such activities as the viewing of live-streamed events, texting, and synchronous social media use. It examines how the temporal coordination of individuals’ streams of thought and internal rhythms can result in interpersonal similarity, like-mindedness, shared identities, and social synchronicity. Finally, it discusses the impact of these phenomena on digital connectedness, social life, and society in a digital age, contributing to the body of research CITAMS is committed to developing in helping the academy and the general public understand the impact of communication, information technology, and media on people’s techno-social lives.

Keywords

Citation

Chayko, M. (2018), "In Sync, but Apart: Temporal Symmetry, Social Synchronicity, and Digital Connectedness", Wellman, B., Robinson, L., Brienza, C., Chen, W. and Cotten, S. (Ed.) Networks, Hacking, and Media – CITA MS@30: Now and Then and Tomorrow (Studies in Media and Communications, Vol. 17), Emerald Publishing Limited, pp. 63-72. https://doi.org/10.1108/S2050-206020180000017004

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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