S. Smith 1
New Computer Users and Fear:
A Review of Some Related Literature
In one of the very first chapters of his book Internet Basics without fear!, Fawcett observed,
"It was my fear of technology that drove me in my early days on the Internet" (23).
Later in the same chapter he went on to elaborate at length on his experiences:
My first experiences with the Internet were not pleasant ones. At that time, most Internet
users were hooked-up to public networks known as Freenets. These networks may have been
pioneering in many ways, but for the average user at the time, they were extremely tedious and
frustrating, sporting technology that, by today's standards, was
bordering on primitive.
A typical Internet evening involved many long and frustrating hours of fumbling around
in 'cyber-blackness'. It frequently took an entire evening just to check my e-mail!
A session was often prefaced by hours of busy signals before finally making a connection. (26)
According to that author, at that time everything was text-based and menu-driven.
Typically, the entire purpose of one's online sessions would be just to send and read e-mails.
As he underlines, it was not a user-centric environment, "Only the more savvy 'tekkie-types',
went beyond that, often spending endless hours exchanging cyber-musings with like-minded
propeller heads." (27)