Family Problems

The evolution of communication and addition of more channels to communicate is definitely revolutionary – it changed the way we live, and it changed the way organizations reach their stakeholders. After our discussion on all these evolution of businesses and communication, I was reminded that it’s not only the big corporations that are coping with these changes, I need not look further for an example, my own family has changed, thanks to the Internet and its vast potentials that await to be used and experienced.

Today is the third day that we don’t have net connection at home. It hurts, really. And I’m sure it’s not just me in the family who feels this way. In this context I’d like to discuss how my sister, my Mom, my grandmother, and in the process, the whole family has changed since we connected to the World Wide Web.

Camille, the high school kiddo
I can’t recall when we started competing for our turns to use the Internet, but I am very sure that (1) my sister proliferates her love for Twilight + Asianovelas + other stuff that no longer interests me online, and (2) she made my first laptop crash four times in three years due to her online activity. She has Friendster, MySpace, Multiply, Twitter, MixPod, and Facebook accounts, with the three latter ones being the most active. In Facebook, she plays Restaurant City, Pet Society, Baking Life, and Farmville.

I have to admit, though, that my sister is better than me when it comes to researching for free stuff online. She was the one who introduced me to Crunchyroll, an anime-streaming site and community for anime lovers at the same time. Last week she gave me copies of all the songs from Glee, which she all downloaded at (I was searching for Glee songs at the same site before, but I didn’t see anything!) And one time I heard her singing while in front of the computer and when I asked her what it was about, she said it’s an online videoke, and she’s singing with her friends who are also online! I was freakin’ amazed.

Since she learned the ins and outs of net use, I had real competition for the Internet. But because I’m a good sister I’m just thankful that she also uses the Internet for her schoolwork. I always think that she’s lucky, because whatever she needs, she can Google at once and voila! No more dial up, no more prepaid cards, no more library.

Mom, the government employee-slash-farmer
I don’t think Mom saw beforehand the boom of the Internet, which explains the stacks of reference books she bought for us. I consider Mom as afraid of this technology before, but I am thankful that she would provide for our need to be online, thus the prepaid dial-up, then the Netopia membership card, then the home connection. Since it would be inevitable for her not to use the net, I entertained thoughts that she would be using it too someday, but not to this extent.

I was in second year college when she asked me to send a few files via e-mail to the DPWH regional office, and I was so irritated when the regional office started e-mailing me newsletters, updates, and other documents since they registered my e-mail address as my Mom’s. What I did, I asked my sister to set up an e-mail address for Mom, and then to teach her too to use basic Net. What my sister did, she followed me, and then she set up my Mom’s Facebook account. That was fine, Mom’s presence on Facebook really do not threaten my privacy. But from there, Mom learned how to connect with friends and then later on to play Farmville.

Mom became the third competitor for Internet use at home, and from 11:00p to 2:00a, the connection is hers, regardless of my or Camille’s unfinished schoolwork, because she needs to plow her land, plant, harvest, and sell crops, and visit her neighbors. It was fine at first, but thrice we were all late for school and work because she didn’t wake up at 6:00a, thanks to her intent farming. Now she’s strongly considering buying a wireless router, so everyone at home can use the net at their most convenient time.

Mama, Lola Techie’s antithesis
Mama doesn’t know how to use the oven toaster, the mobile phone, and the computer. Mama doesn’t understand it when I skip lunch or dinner because we have a meeting online. But she’s my ally at home because she would ask the person using the Internet to give way to me and my schoolwork (Heehee).

While she’s not techie at all, I know she realizes the value of Web 2.0; sometimes she would ask me to e-mail my aunt and my uncles abroad to say hello or greet them during occassions, or she would ask if I can check the accounts of my cousins and view their photos, or if she can chat with them through me. Mama cares about the family very much that she wants to stay connected with the rest who are not geographically proximate through me and the Internet.

The Family and the Internet
The net has definitely changed the way we live as a family. Obviously, Mom, Camille, and I fight over the use of the Internet like kids, while Mama acts like an adjudicator, usually in favor of me. That does not stop Mom and Camille fighting over who gets to use next, so most of the time, I would just use the portable and slow Broadband which uses my phone load, so that affects my allowance greatly. On the other hand, we feel that we are more connected with one another and with other relatives – I remember when I went home late once from OJT and then I didn’t have phone load, I sent a message to my sister via Facebook chat telling her to tell Mama not to worry because I’m coming home late and I don’t have load. I would also post to my Mom’s wall before I go to school. Mom would also use Facebook chat to tell us that she’s coming home late (to play Farmville at work, I bet).

I’m sure it’s not just our family. My aunts and uncles have their Facebook accounts, as well as my high school and titas (the mothers of my high school classmates and choirmates). And now that the Internet demographic is getting older and more knowledgeable, companies must also adapt to this phenomenon. I remember one classmate answering during discussion that skills must also ‘evolve’ to match the needs of Web 2.0. The same communication principles apply, but the manner should be in line with the need. That’s for you, Globe.

Calling Globe customer service, how may you want to help us, please?

Our Internet and landline services were cut Wednesday noon. Mom called Globe’s customer service around dinnertime, and after 10 minutes of waiting for a response, the customer service representative (CSR) promised that Globe servicemen will be fixing our connection Thursday. The team did not arrive so Mom called again, and she was already angry. The CSR said that the team was supposed to go to our house that day, but there was no reason stated why the team did not fix our line. Friday came, and again, the team did not come. Now we’re on our third day without a steady Internet connection, and I heard Mom talking to my sister just awhile ago, telling Camille how big she lost because she wasn’t able to harvest her crops and replace them. Camille went home late Thursday because she had to do her research until the school library closed. Mama wanted me to e-mail my aunt in the US as soon as possible because she haven’t called for two months already so Mama was worried.

Globe’s response (or lack of it) was so 90s – when our phone wasn’t working then, they fixed the problem only after two weeks, and only after Mom went to the Cavite office. It was frustrating that after a decade, the response has not changed, and it has affected our family greatly. What’s more frustrating is that, while everyone is heading to the direction of technology and immediacy, organizations providing services that are instrumental to this, like Internet service providers, are moving towards the other way. Or probably their on a longer reroute.

Let us talk, Globe. Our family needs our Internet connection – it’s the problem that our family is facing now.


5 thoughts on “Family Problems

  1. The evolution of communication and the emergence of new venues for us to communicate have, indeed, changed our lives, and lifestyles.

    Although it is wise for us to be not completely dependent on these advancements (yay for your mom who bought you “stacks of reference books”), it is true that we should “evolve” together with the environment we are a part of for us to be not left behind.

    I hope you get back your internet connection at home soon, Miss M behind the M&M! πŸ™‚

  2. Hi Mina,
    I really enjoyed reading your post. Please tell Mama we’re doing fine, and I promise to call soon. Take care.

  3. Hi Mina! πŸ™‚ Reading your blog post made me nostalgic. I remember when I used to fight with the two most (insert appropriate adjective here) people in the world – my monkeys aka my brothers. πŸ™‚ We used to have this kind of problem too: who gets to use the internet first, for how long, and who is to blame for the crashing of the computer. The evolution of the Internet and the new social media indeed has changed our lives. My brothers and I have become really dependent on the Internet for a variety of reasons: research, games, relationships, whatever. We need the Internet to cope with the fast pace of life. Hopefully, we will not be TOO dependent that we become controlled by it. Let’s hope we do not fight with our siblings just because of Internet, too. πŸ™‚ That has happened to me way too many times already, it’s getting pretty annoying. πŸ™‚

  4. what a fun read!!! hahaha… intersting title!!! i was expecting tears but not really…

    what i’d like to note is your grandmother’s pseudo internet dependence. indeed, people who are “stuck in thier time”, so to speak, always say that they aren’t interested in at least trying to understand the internet. but they can still be dependent on it. like your mama, i too have people around me who don’t literally use the internet because i am the one who “uses” the internet for them. this honestly makes me wonder; if we are in the digital age receptive to new technologies, what will it be like when we grow old? πŸ™‚

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