Reading Zerubavel’s ‘Hidden Rhythms’ last night I came across this interesting framework on time.
Parameters of events:
- Sequential Structure: the oder that events take place in
- Duration: Length of time the event lasts
- Temporal Location: When the event takes place
- Rate of Recurrence: The frequency of occurrence
In effect, St. Nick’s must take place before Christmas, Christmas lasts 1 day, the event always takes place on Dec 25th, it occurs once a year.
Laying out the parameters of events allows you to define and develop an experience around those events. For example, marketers have identified St. Nick’s as not the most important start of the Christmas season. They all but ignore it in their pitch for a revised seasonal experience.
Two years ago I was working on a longitudinal study of how mother’s manage their homes and families through the use of the internet. A key finding was the ways in which they had revised time to suit their needs and the tools they had at hand.
With the aid of the internet and mobile phones, Mothers no longer need to wait to start, research or complete an activity. Time in essence has expanded for them.
In Malcolm Gladwell’s book, ‘Blink’, time is seen as slowing down or speeding up when individuals are under stress.
Time is not as straight forward as we would think.