My online life: John Rowland

Technology Review sat down with John Rowland, general manager – business development and performance with Anglicare Tasmania, to discuss his daily web habits, regular sites and social media usage.

TR: What internet-connected devices do you have?

John Rowland, Anglicare Tasmania

Phone, tablets, media streamers, a MacBook air and a few PCs at work and home. Plus something that lets me turn the deck light off on my iPhone, and detect online whether the dog is inside or outside. I am excited about the Internet of Things – I think if you ask this question in a few years’ time you will need more column inches. Obviously, this is also very important for our client group. Our team is working on a medication dispenser that is opened remotely for medication administration via a tablet and the internet.

TR: How often do you use each device?

Nearly every waking hour. My phone wakes me up and I sometimes watch Netflix going to bed. I’m not very good at switching off.

TR: What are the top five sites/places you go every day?

I always have webmail open. I also use something called to help me keep and share lists. I love electronic payments so I wouldn’t survive without ANZ Internet banking. It makes me seem a little boring, but after a day working on a computer I don’t find myself browsing as much as I used to. Other than those it would be news and social media sites.

TR: What are your favourite apps?

I wouldn’t be able to live on holiday without Google Maps and WeatherZone. I use Spotify when in the car and Hangouts to keep in touch with friends. For work I use something called Cam Scanner, which means I never need to carry any paper.

TR: What social media do you use? 
LinkedIn, Facebook, Hangouts, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. I consider myself more of a social media consumer than producer. I do have a system that watches what social media systems track whilst you are using the internet – it’ s important to understand how much data these organisations have!

TR: Is your social media work-related or personal?

I use LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter for work. We use Facebook within my organisation and LinkedIn and Twitter are great ways to connect. I use Facebook, Hangouts, and Instagram and Pinterest at home. I’ve tried to do away with Facebook because I don’t like the idea of something being out there forever, but I can’t argue with the fact it keeps you in touch with people you wouldn’t otherwise connect with. I am building a house so Pinterest is a must to save pictures of all those house features and the designer furniture we can’t afford!

TR: Does using social media enhance your ability to do your job?

It’s a great tool for engaging with people who use might use a site like Facebook and find it more engaging than email. I think we are all still trying to work out the best way to use it well. LinkedIn as an alternative to Facebook has helped keep personal and private separate from work. I think for our clients in the community social media is a great way to get information out about emergencies and also how to prepare for them.

TR: What online news sources do you use?

If something is going on and I need the latest news I use ABC News, and for technology news Engadget. I also like the Time Magazine website for more in-depth news. Finding good news sources is hard in a world where news and entertainment are so blurred. I find you can never read one site and get the whole story, or you can read one site and get the same story eight times.

TR: What site or app should other aged care professionals know about?

There is a site called It allows you to automatically send email and SMS alerts for when things happen online or for connected devices. It’s a great way to ensure relevant people have current information about important information, such as weather, bushfires and police incidents.

TR: How often do you check emails?

Too often! I have got in the habit of switching it off for leave periods. We had a team in our organisation that recently tried an “email free day”. The world continued to turn and I am told even more work got done. That is definitely food for thought. I’ll have to write myself an email to remind myself to think about that.

A version of this article appears in the current edition of Technology Review magazine (January 2016).


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