This article analyses the role of metaphors in an electronic communication arena based on the data collected in wide-ranging research, carried out by the GIRCOM research group, into sociability in a Universitat Oberta de Catalunya virtual forum.
Initially, the analysis observed how metaphors for the "new" media were used as a resource by participants in the forum to structure an emergent experience and field of meaning. Indeed, the use of these metaphors in certain messages on the forum, and their use by participants interviewed, allowed for the confirmation of an old hypothesis: metaphors served (the students) to be able to understand one thing in terms of another.
Subsequently, the analysis, (taking into account that in the same way that a metaphor was able to aid understanding of a new concept in terms of another, it was also able to hide or ignore other possible conceptions), led us to suspect that the different metaphors chosen by the participants responded to the various interests in the social space generated in the virtual forum.
The hypothesis proposed would require further research for its verification, but we believe the "elective affinity" between social position and the field of semantics configured by the metaphors that the social agents that occupy these positions use to talk about the emergent social space to be significant.