[Air-l] metaphors, toasters and daily lives

Maren Hartmann Maren.Hartmann at vub.ac.be
Tue Jun 3 09:59:20 PDT 2003

Hello Jeremy et al.

I also think this recent thread on the metaphors of Internet security 
is very interesting (my comments might come a bit late, since I only 
receive the digest version of messages - sorry for any potential 

What I am missing in the debate thus far is a consideration of what 
Jeremy originally set out to look for: the metaphoric aspects of this 
Usually the metaphors change exactly at that point when use becomes 
more habitual and less strange or exotic. Thus what you automatically 
switch on every morning is not an information superhighway anymore.
But Jeremy was asking not about existing metaphors for Internet 
security, but about the invention or introduction of some new ones. 
Thus the process is reversed: think about something you are already 
used to doing and then add the 'appropriate' metaphor. Thus we tend 
to be careful and relate it to things we know rather well (someone's 
car - Jeremy's toaster (which however does not appear (!) as a daily 
threat to most of us, I would think, while Internet security is an 
issue we do think about)).
So what metaphors are already out there? There must be some, at least 
in the advertisement world. Can't think of any at the moment. 
Probably not easy that combines public and private aspects.

Another point was to agree with Pille on the domestication concept as 
a rather useful one (where the term ritual can also be added to 
habitual -- adds yet another quality of use, esp. in terms of media 
technologies). One problem here is though - as was discussed at the 
recent EMTEL conference in London - that the research into 
domestication thus far deals more with the changes use practices in 
the sense of everyday life than with the different versions of 
content. The concept itself combines both aspects of use, but 
research has often concentrated on the daily life aspects (where, 
who, how often, when,...). Thus combining the two is the challenge, 
it seems.


[Can I also use this to say that it is a pity that a panel, which had 
metaphors as its main focus, has unfortunately been rejected by the 
AoIR-conference organisers. This is not to say that I do not respect 
the procedures and all the work that has gone into them (a lot!). 
It's just to say that maybe we could get this together for the 
conference after this coming one, since it seems that it could have 
been a good session :-)]
Maren Hartmann - Researcher @ SMIT - Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Pleinlaan 2 - 1050 Brussel - Belgium
phone (work): + 32 2 629 2572 - fax: + 32 2 629 2861
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