In earlier chapters I have argued that virtual reality and even basic ofﬁce work with the Internet relies on comfort with the virtual and through digital technologies creates a digital-virtual space. Much attention has been devoted to the small group of dot.com millionaires, the companies, and to the legal and administrative functionaries and decision-making structures that allow the Internet to function across diverse types of equipment, operating systems and languages. This chapter focuses on the technical and support workers, and the skilled labourers who work with the virtual on a daily basis. This chapter traces the development of this process and the manner in which the virtual is dependent not only on technology but on the human labour of technicians or ‘Internetworkers’ who stitch together the various technologies and institutionalized communication networks which allow virtual environments to function as simulations and as media or spaces where communications and data may be exchanged (Downey 2001). In outline, we will consider:
• The rise of virtual forms of work, and issues of status, alienation and information overload.