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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 Twelve: Ecologies for Connecting across Generations (Anette Grønning)



Ecologies for Connecting across Generations

anette grønning

How might an ecological framework help us understand life in the 21st century? In what follows, I draw on a narrow slice of the life of two families in Denmark, each crossing three generations,1 to talk about the continuous accomplishment of building and maintaining family life in the digital age. Even as these everyday interactions could be considered quite mundane, they create overlapping networks of information flow and feedback through a variety of digital interfaces, using multiple digital artefacts. If viewed through the lens of biological systems theory, we can see how these everyday activities sustain homeostasis, or relative balance. In this chapter, an ecological framework enables me to focus on the way individuals and media co-exist. How personal digital tools are used and how mothers and daughters, fathers and sons live. More specifically, the idea of a personal ecology helps elaborate the way three generations connect and negotiate their relationship through digital artefacts. Denmark is among the most digital countries in the world (International Digital Economy and Society Index, 2018). Only four percent of the Danish citizens (between 16 and 89 years) have not been on the internet (2018). Since 2001, Danish citizens have been subject to forced digitization, driven by the authorities via services like NemID for receiving digital mail from authorities and signing into services (Tassy, 2018). The two different, yet typical Danish families described in this chapter, illustrate that...

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