April 2015, Melbourne, by Josh Nettheim
Amanda and Nerida
Amanda lives with her wife Nerida in an apartment, which they also share with their housemate, Alison, her boyfriend (from time to time), and three cats (full-time). The three of them moved in together soon after Amanda and Nerida were married and each features in the others’ favourites list. Amanda is an actor/singer/writer and is stuck to her laptop; Nerida is a personal trainer and dancer who is never without her mobile and; Alison is a child-care worker who is more likely to finger-paint than use Paintbrush. The cats just provide content for Facebook and Instagram.
Amanda is a writer and works almost exclusively from home, and largely from her laptop. Amanda describes herself as somewhat technophobic, but nonetheless is the primary source of advice and assistance when it comes to the household’s media needs—even though she only recently purchased a smartphone herself. Amanda is quite private in general, though she does use Facebook on her mobile (and also maintains Nerida’s Instagram account) to share many photographs without any overt concern for locational data. For Amanda, the mobile is social and the laptop is work related (mostly) and she actively maintains this separation. Although Amanda is always within arm’s reach of both mobile and laptop, she always sets time aside of an evening to read paper books—and refuses to have devices at the dinner table.
Nerida is a fitness instructor and full-time dance student, and spends the majority of her day out of the house. Nerida’s media use almost solely occurs through her smartphone, which unlike Amanda, is ruthlessly organised into pages and categories. Nerida’s phone is on her all day—even in her pocket during dance classes—and she feels that she would be heartbroken if she lost it.
While Nerida is extremely outgoing, she is quite concerned with the privacy of the data stored on her, and although she is a keen Facebook user she often limits her interactions to private groups and frequently avoids locative features in apps when on the move. Nerida owns a notebook and an iPad, but almost always uses Amanda’s laptop if she needs to send emails—although she’ll dictate while Amanda writes them for her. Aside from calling family and recording dance videos, Nerida mostly uses her mobile for music. Even though she doesn’t know how to upload songs onto the device, odds are, there will be music coming out of it—especially while she’s cooking.