After Day 2 of Our Digital Planet in Wigan, I’m left reflecting on what a scary place the internet is for some people. I listened to a long tale from an older gentleman about the different error messages, warnings, and pop ups which had assailed him during his computer use, and which had eventually convinced him to give the whole thing up. Eventually, I could only advise him to bring his laptop into the Internet Station so I could have a look at it, as, without seeing it, it was impossible for me to judge which of these messages was potentially harmful, and which could easily be dismissed. Those of us who use computers and the internet all the time find it relatively easy to distinguish what we need to worry about and what we don’t, but, for those who are new and irregular visitors, it can seem an impenetrable maze of constant warnings.
I’m writing this on my way to day 2 of Our Digital Planet’s visit to Wigan. Yesterday was almost 6 months to the day from when I locked up the Internet Station and walked away from it in Glasgow, and it was great to be back in there again.
But, of course, what really made it worthwhile was being able to help people do things which will improve their lives. That is a wonderful feeling.
And, to prove a point, our very first visitor was Harriet, who is 81 and was full of tales of the African refugee children she adopted in the 1950s who went on to be successful in the music industry and counted The Beatles and Rolling Stones among their friends. Harriet’s grandson has a degree in Computer Science, but she doesn’t like to bother him with her “trivial” issues, so she will be coming back another day with her laptop and scanner in a trolley.
I believe everyone has a touching point in their lives which will make internet use compelling to them. I will be looking for those touch points in Wigan until Wednesday, and then we move on to Leigh.