Cookies, gift-giving, and the Internet

Hillary Bays, Miranda Mowbray


This paper arose from a question: why are there so many connections between cookies and the Internet? We describe some of these connections. Cookies appear in contexts that have to do with giving and sharing. We explore the larger social context of cookies as food, as a gift for children, and as a symbol of sharing, and also the relationship between women and giving. There turns out to be a connection between the Internet gift economy, the U.S. tradition of giving cookies as a present, and the future of the Internet. We describe this connection and its implication for Internet strategies.

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