Metaphors of Internet: Ways of Being in the Age of Ubiquity

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.

Table of Contents

  • Section 1: Introducing the Metaphors of the Internet
  • 1: Ways of Being in the Digital Age (Annette N. Markham)
  • 2: A wormhole, a Home, an Unavoidable Place. Introduction to “Metaphors of the Internet” (Katrin Tiidenberg)
  • 3: Losing Your Internet: Narratives of Decline among Long-Time Users (Kevin Driscoll)
  • Section 2: Ways of Doing
  • 4: Workplace-Making among Mobile Freelancers (Nadia Hakim-Fernández)
  • 5: Turker Computers (Jeff Thompson)
  • 6: Migration of Self (Tijana Hirsch)
  • 7: Pinball Machines, Cardboard Cutouts, and Private Parties: Three Metaphors for Conceptualizing Memetic Spread (Whitney Phillips)
  • 8: ‘Instagrammable’ as a Metaphor for Looking and Showing in Visual Social Media (Katrin Tiidenberg)
  • Section 3: Ways of Relating
  • 9: Growing Up and Growing Old on the Internet: Influencer Life Courses and the Internet as Home (Crystal Abidin)
  • 10: Remixing the Music Fan Experience: Rock Concerts in Person and Online (Andee Baker)
  • 11: Chronotope (Cathy Fowley)
  • 12: Ecologies for Connecting across Generations (Anette Grønning)
  • 13: The Unavoidable Place: How Parents Manage the Socially Mediated Visibility of Their Young Children (Priya C. Kumar)
  • Section 4: Ways of Becoming
  • 14: Trans-being (Son Vivienne)
  • 15: Popular Music Reception: Tools of Future-Making, Spaces, and Possibilities of Being (Craig Hamilton and Sarah Raine)
  • 16: Co-becoming Hybrid Entities through Collaboration (Maria Schreiber and Patricia Prieto-Blanco)
  • 17: Interview with Artist Cristina Nuñez
  • 18: Trans-constituting Place Online (Katie Warfield)
  • Section 5: Ways of Being With
  • 19: Facebook as a Wormhole between Life and Death (Tobias Raun)
  • 20: A Vigil for Some Bodies (xtine burrough)
  • 21: Screenshooting Life Online: Two Artworks (Sarah Schorr and Winnie Soon)
  • 22: Hurricane Season: Annual Assessments of Loss (Daisy Pignetti)
  • 23: Complicating the Internet as a Way of Being: The Case of Cloud Intimacy (Theresa M. Senft)
  • 24: Echolocating the Digital Self (Annette N. Markham)
  • Section 6: Whose Internet? Whose Metaphors?
  • 25: Metaphoric Meltdowns: Debates over the Meaning of Blogging on Israblog (Carmel Vaisman)
  • 26: Political Ideologies of Online Spaces: Anarchist Models for Boundary Making (Jessa Lingel)
  • 27: No Country for IT-Men: Post-Soviet Internet Metaphors of Who and How Interacts with the Internet (Polina Kolozaridi, Anna Shchetvina, and Katrin Tiidenberg)
  • 28: Remixed into Existence: Life Online as The Internet Comes of Age (Ryan M. Milner)


  • PagesXVIII, 276
  • ISBN (PDF)9781433174513
  • ISBN (ePUB)9781433174520
  • ISBN (MOBI)9781433174537
  • ISBN (Softcover)9781433174506
  • ISBN (Hardcover)9781433174490
  • Language: English
  • Publication date2020 (September)
  • Peter Lang Publishers. Link here

  • ISBN: 9781433174520
  • Markham, A., & Tiidenberg, K. (2020). Metaphors of Internet: Ways of Being in the Age of Ubiquity. Peter Lang.

book cover image for the book Metaphors of Internet

DERC authors

Other Authors

Katrin Tiidenberg