Brita Ytre-Arne (University of Bergen, Norway)

Media Use in Digital Everyday Life

ISBN: 978-1-80262-386-4, eISBN: 978-1-80262-383-3

Publication date: 20 February 2023


Ytre-Arne, B. (2023), "Prelims", Media Use in Digital Everyday Life, Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. i-vii.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2023 Brita Ytre-Arne


Published by Emerald Publishing Limited. This work is published under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) licence. Anyone may reproduce, distribute, translate and create derivative works of this book (for both commercial and non-commercial purposes), subject to full attribution to the original publication and authors. The full terms of this licence may be seen at

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Endorsement Page

“Now that digital media connect or disconnect our everyday lives within and across contexts, then the task of their users is to navigate these new opportunities, smartphone in hand, so as to enjoy new choices, face the at-time intense tensions and dilemmas that result, and orientate to a changing world as resourcefully as possible. In this carefully-researched book, Brita Ytre-Arne puts people at the heart of her insightful and empathetic dissection of modern life.”

Professor Sonia Livingstone, Department of Media and Communications, London School of Economics and Political Science

“In Media Use in Digital Everyday Life, Brita Ytre-Arne provides an insightful account of how we have woven the smartphone into every fabric of our everyday lives, and how our lives have been variously reconstituted in this process. A most helpful read for scholars and students alike.”

Professor Pablo J. Boczkowski, Department of Communication Studies, Northwestern University

“Digital media and their infrastructures have comprehensively changed everyday life for all of us. Brita Ytre-Arne's book provides an excellent basis for understanding these transformations, not only by clarifying the concept of everyday life in relation to media, but above all through the sophisticated analysis of the changing use of media and the associated dynamics and disruptions in the formation of everyday life.”

Professor Andreas Hepp, ZeMKI, University of Bremen

“Ytre-Arne carefully unwraps how smartphones have impacted the way we work, play, and interact with the world around us. By lifting the veil over the rituals, routines and often ambivalent and messy experiences of people, Ytre-Arne invites us to critically reflect upon the taken-for-grantedness of mobile communication in everyday life. As such, Media Use in Digital Everyday Life is a must-read for those wanting to understand digital culture in its full complexity.”

Associate Professor Mariek Vanden Abeele, MICT research group, Ghent University

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University of Bergen, Norway

United Kingdom – North America – Japan – India – Malaysia – China

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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First edition 2023

Copyright © 2023 Brita Ytre-Arne. Published by Emerald Publishing Limited.

This work is published under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) licence.

Anyone may reproduce, distribute, translate and create derivative works of this book (for both commercial and non-commercial purposes), subject to full attribution to the original publication and authors. The full terms of this licence may be seen at

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ISBN: 978-1-80262-386-4 (Print)

ISBN: 978-1-80262-383-3 (Online)

ISBN: 978-1-80262-385-7 (Epub)


Acknowledgements vii
1 Introduction: Media Use and Everyday Life in Digital Societies 1
Why Everyday Life? 3
What Is Everyday Life? 6
Situating Media Use in Everyday Life 8
Analyzing Media Use in Everyday Life 10
A More Digital Everyday Life 11
Whose Everyday Life? 13
Conclusion: Everyday Life After the Smartphone 15
2 Media Use – An Ordinary Day 17
Everyday Media Use as Meaningful and Mundane 19
Morning: Waking Up with the Smartphone 21
Daytime: Navigating with Digital Media Across Social Domains 25
Evening: Mediated Companionship 27
Methodological and Normative Dilemmas: The Ordinary Day and the Smartphone 29
Conclusion: Smartphone Checking Is Everyday Life 32
3 Media Use in Life Transitions 35
Life Phases, Media Generations and Evolving Repertoires 37
Destabilization, Reorientation and Digital Media Expansion 38
Welcoming New Life in Digital Societies 39
Adapting Media Repertoires to a New Phase of Life 41
Existential Connection and Disconnection Dilemmas 44
Conclusion: Navigating Norms in Shifting Contexts 48
4 Media Use in Disrupted Everyday Life 51
A Global Crisis in Everyday Life 52
Destabilized Media Repertoires in Early Lockdown 54
More Digital 55
Less Mobile 58
Still Social 60
Living Through Screens: Zoom Fatigue and Mediated Impoverishment 61
Living in a Global Crisis: Doomscrolling Towards an Uncertain Future 64
Conclusion: A new normal? 67
5 The Politics of Media Use in Digital Everyday Life 69
Main Frameworks and Arguments of the Book 71
Digital Everyday Life Intensifies Communicative Dilemmas 74
Digital Everyday Life Transforms Our Connection to Societal Issues 75
Conclusion: Understanding Digital Society Through Everyday Media Use 77
Appendix: Projects, Studies and Methods 79
Media, Culture and Public Connection 79
Intrusive Media, Ambivalent Users, and Digital Detox 80
Study: Digital Media in the Newborn Period 80
Study: Media Use in Early Pandemic Lockdown 81
Media Use in Crisis Situations 82
Study: News Use During the Coronavirus Pandemic 82
References 85
Index 99


This book is a product of my long-running interest in researching and reflecting upon media use in everyday life. I have been fortunate to be able to pursue this interest across several projects I have worked on with numerous colleagues. I am therefore grateful for many rewarding discussions on everyday media use, and to everyone who has been involved in the studies that the book draws on.

More specifically, the book is situated at the intersection between three research projects: Media, Culture and Public Connection led by Hallvard Moe was a broad study of cross-media use and public connection in Norway; Intrusive media, ambivalent users, and digital detox (Digitox) led by Trine Syvertsen is an ongoing project on digital disconnection, and my project Media Use in Crisis Situations expands studies of pandemic news use into a broader interdisciplinary project. I would like to thank all the excellent scholars and nice people involved in these projects, and the many informants who have shared their experiences with media in everyday life.

In the writing process, I have been particularly grateful to Trine Syvertsen and the Digitox team for encouraging comments on the book proposal, and to Hallvard Moe for constructive feedback on the introduction and lively discussions about phenomenology and the lifeworld. John Magnus Ragnhildson Dahl conducted some of the in-depth interviews that were most productive to analyze, and Ranjana Das insightfully helped me situate the book on the metaphorical bookshelves of the research literature on everyday media use.

At Emerald, Kimberly Chadwick has been a very supportive editor, and many others have helped with various parts of the process. The anonymous peer reviewers provided encouraging comments that improved the manuscript. With funding from the publication fund at the university library of the University of Bergen, this book is published open access. I would like to thank everyone who has assisted in making the book come to life.

In my own everyday life, I am also grateful to Anders, Sunniva and Olav for inspiration to think about – and not think about – writing this book.

Bergen, August 2022