The Big Business of Downtime
Email this review


A dense analysis of mobile devices and how they have blurred the lines between public and private spaces.

As the subtitle suggests, wasting time has become big business, as brands extend across cyberspace and into seemingly every area of our lives. “The procrastination economy thrives at the intersection of branding, public space, and digital technology,” writes Tussey (Communication/Georgia State Univ.). “As our digital lives become entwined with our real lives, there will be material consequences in the ways we move through locations.” For readers capable of cutting through thickets of academic verbiage, there are some interesting insights. Rather than simply wasting time and hurting productivity, procrastination in the office can improve spirit and bonding (as with the NCAA basketball tournament), like the water cooler of old, and provide necessary breaks. In “The Waiting Room,” the author focuses on waiting at airports and on CNN Airport in particular. As “programming to entertain and relax travelers in waiting rooms,” it “is now available in 47 airport waiting rooms around the world.” In addition to delivering a captive audience to advertisers, its “real value to Turner lies…in the promotion of other Turner properties,” thus extending the brand. While travelers may feel that they are simply watching CNN, the programming shies away from crises and particularly airline crashes, switching “to pretaped segments or weather forecasts.” The audience also has other options on mobile devices, including thousands of games; the author suggests, of those playing those games, that “the level of care and effort that goes into these designs is astonishing.” Tussey also offers a useful analysis of how Twitter and TV have become so intertwined and how mobile devices have changed and expanded the living room experience: “the ‘connected’ living room can create a vicarious living room for families that are not occupying the same space or even the same zip code.”

Though the observations encompass the general populace, this intermittently interesting study aims at an academic market rather than a lay readership.

Pub Date: Feb. 6th, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-4798-4423-4
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: New York Univ.
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 2017


IndieThe New Killer Apps by Chunka Mui
by Chunka Mui
NonfictionTHE INTERNET OF US by Michael Patrick Lynch
by Michael Patrick Lynch