In BCM240’s Week 1 lecture, we were introduced to the two concepts of: ‘Media audiences’ and ‘media spaces.’ During Sue’s discussion of how people use the media and where, my mind recalled an experience I encountered recently at my local McDonald’s. As most of us are aware of, McDonald’s presented its customers with free Wi-fi in 2008. Not only was the franchise one of the first fast-food-chain outlets to provide the public with free network coverage, but it started a trend, with big shopping centres such as the QVB and Westfield also offering the service. However, it wasn’t the everyday school kids who would run into McDonald’s to check their Facebook profiles that surprised me, it was the men and women in business attire on their laptops. I observed a middle-aged man in a suit have an informal meeting with who I assumed was a colleague. He even had his laptop charger plugged into the wall.
I understand wanting to escape from the office, having a sneaky big mac in a 15-minute break and wanting to double-check your E-Harmony friend requests without your boss filtering your e-mails, but to conduct informal meetings, charge your laptop and actually complete work in a fast food store? I wasn’t aware of how common this had become since free Wi-fi hit more public areas. It was also a reminder of how much technology and accessibility has changed over the years. Internet was once a dial-up tone which could only be used on your family’s home PC. Now, with network businesses growing and technology emerging, you are able to do anything online almost anywhere.
Kidman, A., 2009, Making The Most Of Free Wi-Fi At McDonald’s, LifeHacker, accessed 03/08/2013, http://www.lifehacker.com.au/2009/01/making_the_most_of_free_wi-fi_at_mcdonalds/