Making the Home Network at Home: Digital Housekeeping
This paper exploits ethnographic findings to build on and elaborate Grinter et al’s 2005 study of “the work to make the home network work”. We focus particularly on the work involved in setting up and maintaining home networks, which we characterize as ‘digital housekeeping’. Our studies reveal that it is through digital housekeeping that the home network is ‘made at home’ or made into an unremarkable and routine feature of domestic life. The orderly ways in which digital housekeeping ‘gets done’ elaborate a distinct ‘social machinery’ that highlights some important implications for the continued development of network technologies for the home. These include a requirement that designers take existing infrastructure into account and pay considerable attention to how future technologies may be incorporated into existing routines. The preoccupation of household members with making the home network transparent and accountable so that it is available to practical reasoning suggests designers should also consider the development of dedicated management interfaces to support digital housekeeping.