Observation: Kamla

Subject: Kamla – 53 – F

Date: July 10, 2011

Situation: In the late evening my mother checks her email on the TV while listening to old Indian tunes using an old radio.

Old Media: Radio

New Media: TV Connected to Computer

Time Observation Notes
9:12pm The radio is already on when I walk into the setting. The radio doesn’t have a normal place in the household and is temporarily placed on the kitchen table. My mother has it tuned to some Indian radio broadcast channel. I can hear the whirring of the computer attached to the TV in the living room, as my mother is about to take a seat. She reaches over to the side table and grabs the wireless keyboard, mouse and remote control. The tune on the radio draws her attention and she closes her eyes and hums to herself for a few moments. She then logs into Windows XP, opens Outlook and commences checking her email.
9:19pm She spends a long time reading emails from family and friends. My mother actually laughs out loud (not just says “lol”; physically and audibly laughs at the TV screen with her email text displayed) while reading a chain mail from a family friend. The radio in the background has not received attention in about 10 minutes.
9:25pm Eyes still glued to the screen, my mother begins humming a tune. Nothing else has really changed.
9:33pm One of my mother’s emails has a link to a Bollywood song on YouTube. Se gets up from the TV and walks over to the radio. She unplugs the radio and bundles it up for storage before returning to the TV to listen and watch the YouTube video.


It was interesting to see my mother interact in this setting. Firstly, the TV is an old media device. One of which she if familiar with using. The computer is powered by Windows XP and email by Outlook, but I think that when she interacts with the television she is more comfortable due to familiarity. Secondly, the TV is an old media turned into an immersive new media experience with the addition of the computer.

I’m also beginning to notice some patterns. The people I am observing are often very busy and additionally, multitask in some aspects but no true sense. For the most part, old media devices are being pushed to the background in favour of new media devices with social experiences and communication elements.