Paramedia is a cultural theory for studying digital interfaces.

Semiotics helps us to uncover the underlying meanings of media, and ultimately, how media messages shape culture.


Digital media demands a specific kind of semiotics — one that focuses on how messages are framed inside dynamic and interactive interfaces.

Interfaces are neutral in appearance, and all the time simpler and less visible. That is, exactly, the reason to study them: every interface has a goal, and effect on the user, and an effect on culture.

Based on textual studies, interface studies and analytics, this theory helps us to make meaning of the experiences that interfaces and their contents bring us.


Ultimately, it helps us to uncover the invisible forces that interfaces exert over us, daily, and that shape our culture.

It's free and does not require login.

What do interfaces want?


Interfaces are not neutral. They are constantly leading us towards something — to watch a video, read a post, listen to a song or buy a product.


More importantly, interfaces are designed to provoke feelings and evoke emotions.


And lastly, the continuous use of interfaces creates what is "normal" when it comes to media usage.

I call paramedia the elements that help us to identify the content we want to consume, and make our decision whether or not to consume it.

The theory of paramedia blends critical discourse analysis, cultural analysis, marketing, service design, UX, UI, analytics and conversion optimization.

Based on the first interface widely available — the book — this conceptual framework includes cultural, interactive and attribution elements to it, making design work and qualitative or quantitative analysis easy, clear and relevant.

Purple - Blue Gradient

Every interface element that surrounds the content you are looking for influences your decision on whether or not to consume it.
The comments around a YouTube video, the number of likes on a Facebook post, the number of retweets or the verified badge on an Instagram profile — every surrounding element influences our interpretation of content.

That's the domain of paramedia.

Image by Halacious

Who? Why?


Paramedia studies offer Academic tools for qualitative analysis of interfaces, close readings and quantitative analysis and attribution, as well.


They are interesting for scholars, students and researchers in the field of digital culture, contemporary culture, screen culture, marketing, UX, UI, design and digital textual practice researchers.

Design thinkers and doers of all kinds may also benefit from the proposed structure. 

Academic research referencing paramedia

The Ethos of Digital Environments: Technology, Literary Theory and Philosophy: Perspectives on the Non-Human in Literature and Culture

Editors Susanna LindbergHanna-Riikka Roine

Routledge, 2021

Literacy Sponsorship and Official Paratexts: Promoting Character Literacy through the For the Strength of Youth Booklets (1965-2011)

DS Malinconico - 2020 -

On the dynamic interaction between peritext and epitext: Punch magazine as a case study

Tyrkkö, Jukka, Räikkönen, Jenni. 2020 (English)In: The Dynamics of Text and Framing Phenomena: Historical approaches to paratext and metadiscourse in English / [ed] Matti Peikola, Birte Bös, Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company, 2020, p. 33-61.

The Evolving Interplay between Social Media and International Health Security: A Point of View

K Conti, S Desai, SP Stawicki… - … and Perspectives in …, 2020 -

Reception and revision of women-related translation paratexts: South Korean cases

SB Lee - The Translator, 2020 - Taylor & Francis

Rinse, Repeat: Paratextual Poetics of Literary Twitter Collage Retweeted

L Piippo - Image and Narrative, 2019 -

Understanding the Dynamics of User-Generated Translation on YouTube: A Bourdieusian Perspective.

E Krasnopeyeva - New Voices in Translation Studies, 2018

Reframing Salman Rushdie: The Politics of Representation and New Media in Transnational Public Culture

T Ravy - 2018 -

“The Man Who Would Be Popular”: An Analysis of Salman Rushdie's Twitter Feed

T Ravy - The Journal of Commonwealth Literature, 2017 -

Kohti pelisivistystä

M Meriläinen -

Peixe-elétrico# 05: Silviano

AP Pacheco, B Rodrigues, FR Vassoler, R Roye, R Lísias, S Tavares, ...


Paramedia: Thresholds of the social text

S Tavares

Jyväskylä studies in humanities

What is an author in social media?

S Tavares

MIT8 Public Media, Private Media: Media in Transition International …

Why Do We Write as We Write

S Tavares


Paratextual Prometheus. Digital Paratexts on YouTube, Vimeo and Prometheus Transmedia Campaign

S Tavares

International Journal of Transmedia Literacy (IJTL) 1, 175-195

Writing in social media

S Tavares

Why do We Write as We Write? Paradigms, Power, Poetics, Praxis, 125-132

The Gaze of Magibon: critical discourse analysis on multi-million viewed YouTube videos

ST Filho

2nd Global Conference in Digital Culture 2 (1)

Events related to design & paramedia

Workshop: Service Design Performance Indicators for Helsinki University Student Services

The team behind the design and development of Helsinki University student services gather to understand how to define, measure and design solutions for current digital experience problems. With Design & Development Teams. 

Digitalist Group @ Helsinki University, Helsinki, 2019.​

Lecture: Media, Paramedia & Performance Indicators

Master Degree on Contemporary Culture, combining the framework of paramedia, value propositions and the consumer marketing funnel.

University of Jyväskylä, 2019.

Speaker: The Datafied Consumer

Discussions on customer journey mapping with qualitative data, quantitatively. Nordic Morning Executive Breakfast with Emarsys.
Helsinki, 2017.​​

Speaker: Mind the Map, an ebook for mapping customer journeys

How to map the customer journey in a lean, yet data-rich way?

Helsinki Marketing Week

Messukeskus, Markkinoinnin viikko, 2016.

Speaker: What Yoko Ono Had For Breakfast: Authorship in Twitter

Media In Transition 8: Massachusetts Institute of Technology:
Cambridge, MA, 2013.

Speaker: Paratextual Prometheus: Transmedia, author, paratexts

Transmedia Literacy Conference
Program in Digital Culture (IN3 — Universitat Oberta de Catalunya): Barcelona, 2013.​

Course: Media practices

Interactions Master of Arts program
University of Jyväskylä, 2012.

Lecture: Power & Paramedia

Master Degree on Interactions

Aalto University, 2011.

Lecture: Power & Paramedia

Digital Culture Summer School

Nordic Digital Culture Network, 2011.

It's free and does not require login.