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Metaphors of Internet

Ways of Being in the Age of Ubiquity


Edited By Annette N. Markham and Katrin Tiidenberg

What happens when the internet is absorbed into everyday life? How do we make sense of something that is invisible but still so central? A group of digital culture experts address these questions in Metaphors of Internet: Ways of Being in the Age of Ubiquity.

Twenty years ago, the internet was imagined as standing apart from humans. Metaphorically it was a frontier to explore, a virtual world to experiment in, an ultra-high-speed information superhighway. Many popular metaphors have fallen out of use, while new ones arise all the time. Today we speak of data lakes, clouds and AI. The essays and artwork in this book evoke the mundane, the visceral, and the transformative potential of the internet by exploring the currently dominant metaphors. Together they tell a story of kaleidoscopic diversity of how we experience the internet, offering a richly textured glimpse of how the internet has both disappeared and at the same time, has fundamentally transformed everyday social customs, work, and life, death, politics, and embodiment.

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Chapter Six: Migration of Self (Tijana Hirsch)



Migration of Self

tijana hirsch

“My kids say ‘shit’ occasionally but pronounced ‘sheet’ so at least I know it is not coming from me as the only English speaking parent in our house. Unfortunately I can’t blame gan1 for the ‘for fucks sake’ usage from our little ones—whoops.”

Dania is a transnational settler,2 a working, now multilingual, professional woman, and a mother to four daughters. She and her Swedish-English-Israeli husband relocated to Israel in 2007, when Dania was in advanced stages of her first pregnancy. I met her at a ‘mommy and me’ gathering for English speakers initially organized by one of the fellow moms whom I met through a Yahoo Groups posting. Since, Dania and I have met many times, with our growing families and alone, and have over the years had many conversations, online and off, on the topic of migration: the translocation, the settlement, and the language(s). In this piece, I focus on how Dania embraced her networked life “in media” (Deuze, 2011)—in particular in Facebook—after arriving to Israel. I briefly pan, scan, and zoom in ←55 | 56→on (Stephens, 1998) her trajectories as an immigrant and a mother, and how those shaped her life in the internet.

Dania already had a Facebook account when she moved to Israel, and considered herself an active internet user. Facebook reached 100 million users in 2008, when Dania’s first child was born, and...

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