As I sat down to write this post I felt a surge of classic perfectionist panic…how on Earth am I going to write about a single experience when my whole life has been molded by the interworking of media spaces!?
And then I had it- the eureka moment. Maybe MY life had been a flurry of ever-changing media, but for some this technology yielded challenges I could only imagine. My grandmother loathed the ‘technological age’. She refused to buy a television, saw no point in emails and referred to mobile phones as “glaikit makers” (Glaikit being a Scottish word for stupid or thoughtless!).
There was not a soul on this Earth that could convince her that such technology had its benefits. That was until her eldest granddaughter- me- decided to venture to the other side of the world, and the immense travel envy kicked in! Eighty-two-year-old grandma called me over one day, stood up with a groan of defeat and sighed, “Well Rhiannon…I’d like you to teach me to drive Facebook.”
Now, Facebook is a media space in which I am typically perfectly comfortable but throw in a grandmother that five minutes ago didn’t know how to turn on a computer and you’ve got trouble. Out came the trusty notebook, and we painstakingly wrote notes on everything from turning on the device to using the keyboard.
It took weeks before we got anywhere near that pesky Facebook icon, grandma kept accidentally uninstalling it! Forty-seven cups of tea, twelve sandwiches and many deep breaths later and she managed to create her first post! There we sat, side by side, as I showed her how to view my travel photos, reply and post her own photos in response.
When the day finally came for me to set off on my solo adventure, I had faith that grandma would pull through with that good luck message- and if she didn’t at least I was too far away for another tutorial! Upon arriving at the hotel, connecting to the Wi-Fi and beginning the obligatory “got here safe” messages, I was thrilled to see a notification from grandma herself!
I don’t know why I expected to see the classic well wishes, because this is my grandmother we’re talking about, and she’s full of surprises! Here’s what I found instead:
There she is, the matriarch of our family, proudly showing off the veranda back home! I spent weeks teaching grandma how to use Facebook for the sole purpose of communicating with me overseas, and she becomes a selfie queen!
To me, that’s the true beauty of media spaces- they are what you make of them. My experiences took on new significance the day I helped that technology-defiant grandmother realise her true Facebook potential.