HIST30060 Group-chat shenanigans

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HIST30060 Group-chat shenanigans

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Lockdown shifted the nature of community dynamics in our local area. We live in a peri-urban region on the outskirts of the Yarra Ranges; as such, neighbouring properties are separated by large swathes of Australian bush. This can be isolating at times; it’s very different to suburban living. Our street (which spans about 7kms) and adjacent streets have a WhatsApp group chat named ‘Fireguard’, which allows residents to share information about fire safety, planned burn-offs and emergency warnings. However, during lockdown the chat was increasingly used for the purposes of socialisation. Suddenly, distant neighbours began sharing jokes and engaging in conversations about lockdown living, through the chat. The chat became a site of social interaction that the members of our area probably didn’t realise they needed, until they did. We eventually decided to create a separate chat for general/social purposes only, the title ‘WHICHBIN’ constituting a friendly inside joke about one particular chat member who never fails to ask, “which bin?” she needs to put out for collection each week.

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This item was submitted on November 3, 2021 by Olivia Tregambe using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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