never leaving my cocoon- inside a networked home

Have you ever had a moment of panic or slight unease when you are separated from your phone? Hermann Bausinger explained that some technology can be “distinguished by the fact that they rapidly take on the character of artificial limbs” (Bausinger 1984) And when considering a mobile phone as a part of your everyday, or even every minute it’s safe to consider it one kind of “artificial limb”.  Sherry Turkle draws on this too, observing that her daughter “sleeps with her cellphone, so do I.” (Turkle 2012) Bausinger used the newspaper as an example of this attachment we have to technology, describing peoples’ worry if a newspaper wasn’t delivered that day, the dilemma is “a question of the missing content of the newspaper, or isn’t it rather that one misses the newspaper itself? Because the newspaper is part of it, reading it proves that the breakfast-time world is still in order-hence the newspaper is a mark of confirmation” (Bausinger 1984) When considering this, media such as newspaper or our mobile phones may not always be desired for its content, but for its comfort as it contributes to our everyday, our rituals. This is further proven when you realise that sometimes you go on your phone even if you haven’t been contacted or don’t desire to make contact yourself.

When thinking of this attachment in a home setting, it’s rare to think of a time when anyone in our family isn’t using a device connected to the internet. If I was to count how many of said devices there are in my home, I would guess about fourteen, including phones, laptops, TV’s and gaming devices. There are only four people in the family.

The day I finally got Netflix was super exciting, I was finally able to watch an abundance of movies and TV shows from the comfort of my bed without the burden of using dodgy free websites with super low quality. To spread the joy, I let my whole family use my account. But very quickly this became problematic as my subscription would only allow one screen to watch at a time, which meant I quickly upgraded my account, costing me $4 extra each month. And even now, I am sometimes faced with this sight.

Screen Shot 2018-08-25 at 12.29.01 pm

Statistics show that “two thirds of Netflixers share their accounts” with other people. (Mander 2015)

What is seen here is a demonstration of the networked home. We are all under the same roof, but all in different worlds, watching what we want to watch, on our own devices, in our own comfort. This is one way of considering what Turkle explains as “We’re getting used to a new way of being alone together.” (Turkle 2012) As personal devices such as phones and laptops can transport us to wherever we want to go, without physically moving, creating a tension between the virtual and physical world. The constant connection means I can do almost anything from my bedroom, including my university work and even my banking (along with 80% of internet users (ABS 2018)), I’m also constantly connected to my friends and family, finding electronic communication so much more convenient, wiling to trade off how meaningful the interactions are. Sometimes I even find myself messaging my brother, who is usually in the next room, because I’m too comfy to leave my Netflix cocoon.

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References

Australian Bureau Of Statistics 2018, ‘8146.0 – Household Use of Information Technology, Australia, 2016-17’ http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/8146.0

Bausinger, H 1984, ‘Media, Technology and Daily Life’ in Media, Culture and Society p.343-351

Turkle, S 2012, ‘Connected, but alone?’  in TED2012 delivered February 2012  https://www.ted.com/talks/sherry_turkle_alone_together

Mander, J 2015, ‘Two thirds of Netflixers share their accounts’ in globalwebindex https://blog.globalwebindex.com/chart-of-the-day/two-thirds-of-netflixers-share-their-accounts/

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