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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.

Annette N. Markham (Professor of Media & Communication at RMIT University) is a pioneering researcher of digital culture. Her foundational ethnographic studies of mediated identities and lived experience through the Internet is well represented in her first book, Life Online: Researching Real Experience in Virtual Space. She is a globally recognized expert on rethinking frameworks for research practice in digitally saturated contexts, as well as her work around ethics of care and impact needed for building better futures in algorithmic societies. Markham is founder and director of Future Making Research Consortium and STEEM: Center for the Study of Technological, Ethical, and Emerging Methods.

Katrin Tiidenberg (Professor of Visual Culture & Social Media at Tallinn University) is a digital sociologist and author of Sex and Social Media (with Emily van der Nagel), Selfies: Why We Love (and Hate) Them, and Body and Soul on the Internet: Making Sense of Social Media (in Estonian). She is currently writing and publishing on the deplatforming of sex on social media, visual social media practices, and digital research ethics. Tiidenberg is on the Executive Board of the Association of Internet Researchers and the Estonian Young Academy of Sciences.