Document Type


Date of Original Version



Communication Studies


Mobile devices in the form of smartphones are transforming the temporality of consumption experiences, from languid and legato forms to isochronal and staccato forms. New communication technologies accelerate as well as alter mobile consumptionscapes. Rather than attempting to capture the elusive here-and-now essence of such fast-changing scenes, this essay invokes three historical episodes of technology and mobility – the transistor radio, the Walkman-style cassette device, and the MP3 player – to uncover the patterns that enhanced levels of mobility bring to the media consumption experience. In particular, by illuminating matters of time, some temporal framings are offered as correctives to spatially biased theories of mobile media. Drawing lessons from these historical episodes and blending in contemporary social theories about mobile technologies, we arrive at a temporally oriented view of the emergent consumptionscapes that can contribute to understanding the present era and the proximal future in terms of connecting both places and paces.


Nikhilesh Dholakia and Jennifer Bonoff are from the College of Business.

Ian Reyes is from the Department of Communication Studies.