The Internet According to Nan*The following is the guest post by Stacey*

This already looks like a series: first The Roast of the Silver Surfers, then Hal’s Geriatric Surfers – Should We Pull The Plug? and now this great and funny post on how Stacey’s Nan sees the Internet.

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A couple of recent guest posts here on SEO Smarty have covered the topic of the more, ahem, mature web surfers. Hal Brown in particular raised a laugh from me when ending his post with, “Us old farts may look stupid to youngsters, but consider how you look to us.” Good point!

But all this talk of the sixty something surfers got me thinking of my wonderful Nan. She doesn’t use the Internet – in fact I’m not even sure she knows what it is really. Let me offer a little insight into the ‘Internet According to Nan.’

Very Intelligent Men Live in Computers

A number of years ago, search engine ‘Ask Jeeves’ ( ran a series of TV ads here in the UK. They invited British surfers to go online and ask a rather well dressed cartoon butler anything! It was actually a rather clever marketing campaign really, particularly as even Nan (who generally turns off when anything in an advertisement mentions ‘www’) noticed it. I know she noticed it because several days later as she sat puzzling over a crossword she sought my assistance.

‘Stacey?’ she asked.

‘Yes, Nan?’

‘You’ve got one of them computer things haven’t you?’

‘Yes Nan.’

‘Ok, can you get hold of that Jeeves fellow from that telly ad? I need help with my crossword.’

Yes, it seems Nan genuinely thought that Internet users have unrestricted access to a very knowledgeable gentleman by the name of Jeeves and that whenever I wanted to know anything I could simply switch on my computer and ‘talk’ to the butler himself, personally.

Google is a T-Shirt Printing Business

When I first began working in SEO and online marketing, I was trying to explain the concept to my Nan. I started by explaining search engines and why someone would want to ‘rank’ within them. However, I was interrupted in the middle of my very ‘back to basics’ explanation of Google.

‘Google?’ she began, ‘They make T-shirts, don’t they?’

Despite my insistence that Google isn’t a local t-shirt printing company, I think she still believes that they are… which I suppose by default means that if anyone asks what her Grand Daughter does for a living, there’s a very real chance she’ll reply, “Gets things on T-shirts.” Yes, honest, I’m a T-shirt printer!

Facebook Makes People Get Divorced

Now, while there is no arguing with the fact that some people have divorced as a result of an encounter they’ve had with someone they met or got back in touch with through Facebook, I’m not sure it’s fair to assume that Facebook is singlehandedly responsible for as many divorces as my Nan seems to think it is. Of course, she’s basing her in depth knowledge of the platform on one or two dodgy articles she’s read in tabloid newspapers. But there’s no arguing with Nan. Her opinion is gold. My Auntie and I were having a discussion in my Nan’s house a few months back. She had recently joined Facebook and having previously been as much of a novice as Nan, was asking for a little help getting to grips with it.

‘Can you come round to my house when you get chance,’ she asked me, ‘and help me out with Facebook?’

‘Facebook?’ Nan piped in. ‘What are you looking at that for? You’re not even married.’

‘What’s that got to do with anything?’ my Auntie enquired.

‘Well that’s a thing on the Internet for married people who want mistresses or toyboys isn’t it?’

I don’t think she’ll be signing up for a profile anytime time soon.

The Internet Closes at 5

Several months ago I was sitting in my Nan’s house (minding my own business) and when I decided to get the laptop out and enjoy some early evening online shopping time.

‘What are you doing?’ she asked me as I turned my laptop on (It’s worth noting that as far as my Nan is concerned, if your eyes aren’t on the TV, you must be up to something).


‘On that internet thingie?’


‘You’re too late, love. It’s nearly seven now. Shops shut ages ago.’

Even after explaining to her that Internet shops don’t really work like that and that they are open 24 hours, she simply accused the retailers of ‘exploiting their staff,’ by making them work day and night. I stopped trying to explain right there.

So you’re unlikely to ever see my Nan on Facebook – she’s not in the market for a toyboy. She’s not keen on Google because she prefers long sleeved sweaters to t-shirts and she remains one of the tiny minority who still insist on booking their travel in a High Street Travel Agency. Apparently online shopping is all a big conspiracy.

So while we talk and blog and debate the progress of technology and the web, it might be worth remembering that the Internet revolution hasn’t quite happened for everyone yet!

Stacey is from Manchester, UK and works in online marketing and SEO (that t-shirt printing business, right?) for Tecmark: SEO Liverpool. She’s regularly sniffing around the My Blog Guest forums! You can follow Stacey on Twitter!

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  2. Hal Brown says:

    This was fun to read. Sometimes we get too serious about things like generation gaps and tech know-how. A hundred years ago most people could see no reason to have a telephone. I wonder about the humor that came from that era.

    A few years ago, I set up an email discussion group for an organization. I knew most of the over 65 people didn’t have computers (I was amazed to find out how many did have computers). One evening I made a joking comment to a guy that he should get one. I’ll never forget his reply.

    “I don’t believe in computers.”

    I jokingly told him it wasn’t a religion or a movement. As far as I know, he still has no computer, and never will.

    Thanks for an excellent post.

  3. My mom is 68. And I am impressed about her skills with PC and internet. She sends forth and back various powerpoint slides with office jokes between friends that are about her age, users scanner, internet extensively. It was not always the case, though.
    Her approach of learning PC was taking notes on how to do simple tasks. She had notes how to print something, how to copy a file and so on. After a while she learned about internet banking and she was really happy with it (although I know people that do not trust internet banking as well). The more she did, the less notes she needed. Now I am asked for help when something is really wrong with PC only.
    I know a lot of elderly people in various stages of this learning process. Some will never touch a PC. SomeHowever, there are less and less such people. Some started to use PC with notes and send emails to their relatives abroad. Internet allows reaching people cheaper and more conveniently. And that is quite important to elderly here.

  4. I’d love for your Nan to meet Sergey and Larry – ‘the guys with the t-shirt business’… priceless!

  5. Andrew Suta says:

    I like reading this post all about the internet and things google. Just like hearing stories from my grandma. Thanks

  6. Older users may be behind the curve when it comes to technology (my mum still can’t add full stops in text messages) but they are becoming more and more comfortable with the internet. It’s ideal for them, as they can order pretty much whatever they want and have it shipped to their houses without having to go out shopping. It’s also fantastic for the market because it gives digital marketing companies a new subsection of society to aim at.

    Long live the Silver Surfer 🙂

  7. This tickled me!

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