Burning Down the House!

For this week, I would have ideally liked to return to my Aunt whom featured in my blog post “Bandstand, Countdown and Championship Wrestling” to conduct this interview on how the internet, especially the NBN has affected the household. However, she was just down from the Northern Territory for the week so doing this week’s blog on her household would be a tad difficult. But good news everybody! My Nan just got an iPad and with it, upgraded herself from police radio warrior to tech mage who decided to run it off of a 3G modem in order to access her new Facebook account. Lucky me 🙂

Note: This encounter was not structured like my last interview, and lacks the aforementioned NBN research for reasons apparent in the following narrative. The style and use of the web unfolds through the discussion and observation of my Nan and her relationship with her internet connected device, as well as that of her husband’s.

So off to this new tech mage I traveled, and low and behold I entered a household changed by the presence of the world wide web. obsolescence overran the old police radio and Foxtel news programs. The kitchen no longer occupied and no sign of life in this new realm other than a woman sitting on the lounge scrolling through Facebook like a 16 year old girl.

Don’t get me wrong. Not everyone in the household was as affected by the internet. My grandfather, though iPhoned and very connected online (Having been a social network occupier for many months now) was still outside working on engines and making a general mess of his wrecker style domain. For my Nan though, the introduction to the collage of being an online socialite gave her new channels on which to get information and entertainment, thus impacting her life greatly. Upon entering this previously sacred centre of offline tranquility, I disturbed my nan, much in the same way one might be pulled out of the matrix. As quick as lighting, faster than a speeding bullet, she cooked my up a maltese feast to feed a neighbourhood. This was the Nan that I was used to. And thus started our conversation on the topic of the internet.

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My Nan was the one who started the conversation, solidifying the fact that this was big news for her. “Have you seen what Peta posted on Facebook?” “Kerrie blocked me so now I can’t see her pictures” the social network had opened up a channel for both her good and bad relationships with family and friends which had been magnified in the close confines of her Facebook experience. which in itself is an interesting point. Unlike most of us, My nan only has 36 friends on Facebook, reducing her interactions from a lake to a metaphorical muddy puddle. Props to her though for keeping a small friend base and not exploding as most people of my generation do.

The conversation continued, mainly consisting of show and tell of the youtube videos we had watched recently and gossiping about family members who had posted embarrassing selfies. Until we finally started to hit some crucial questions about why my Nan chose this internet style. As it turns out, the reason for her choice of 3G over Wifi was a very simple one, It was what Pop’s phone used. The first exposure that my Nan had to the virtual world was from her husband’s smart phone which used 3G network. This lead her to deciding to go with that same option for her iPad, meaning no wi-fi modem and only the phones plugged into the phone-line sockets.

This caused some interesting developments in the use of the internet in this household as opposed to many others. The most prominent of these was the internet ownership. When Nan asked if I could look up the Aunty that blocked her, my mind went straight to the most logical question, if I could grab the internet password for my iPod (The only mobile device I had on me a the time) in order to show her. However, she declined and instead got me to log onto Facebook on her iPad. This sense of internet ownership “It’s MY internet” was a strange ideology compared to friends and family who give you the wifi password as you walk through the door. Other changes in internet usage within the home. In order to understand this, Nan ran through how she gets ready to use the internet.

In order to browse online, Nan needed to not only grab her iPad, but a 3G modem as well. A small white capsule with an on button. She then found a place to sit, be it at the bench, dining room or lounge-room, turned on the modem and connected to it with her iPad. once connected, she said it was best to not move the modem around too much or move to far from this source of internet. Thus explaining Nan’s usage style for internet browsing. She was most likely to only use the web in long periods when she didn’t need to be actively doing things while online. This meant no quick look at Facebook while waiting for the oven to heat up or for the ad break to finish. And this unique style all stemmed from her decision to use the 3G network over wifi or in the future, NBN.

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One thought on “Burning Down the House!

  1. I’m really captivated by the “it’s my internet” part to this story. We have so little research that is grounded in this kind of detail about how older users manage internet access, this is just a lovely detail. Please thank your Nan so much for sharing it.

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