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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 Fourteen: Trans-being (Son Vivienne)




son vivienne

Lately I feel more confident. It might be starting testosterone or a shift in the way I think about myself. My head-and-body-space. But I’m not impervious to paranoia and ‘dysphoria’. I know some people don’t ‘get it’ and I guess I should expect that I might lose friends and make enemies. ( 2016)1

As a researcher, I am inspired by how Markham questioned some assumptions of traditional research: “that the researcher can and should separate the planning from the doing and presenting of research; and that the researcher should present research projects as if they were a sensible linear process, when in fact the linearity is made sense of retrospectively” (Markham, 1998, p. 78). In accordance with this self-reflective stance on the ways we make meaning, in this chapter I articulate the impact my research has had on me; the ways my presentations over the last couple of years have ‘transitioned’. Explorations of privacy management strategies became conceptual explorations of congruence. All the selves I’ve been became entangled with pseudonymized contributions from the gender-diverse storytellers that I work with. Coming out online as ‘non-binary’ has affected my physical body and the way I think about its boundaries. Non-linear fragments of personhood, made sense of retrospectively.

It’s no surprise to me that the blurring of binaries in gender identity have become more visible courtesy of the internet. I wonder whether co-incidences of non-binary ways of being...

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