... offers a history of the web, an introduction to linguistics and a survey of the most fascinating research from [McCulloch's] field ... For those well versed in the ways of the web, Because Internet will offer insight into how we are, often unwittingly, signaling our identity through the language we use online each day. For those who aren’t familiar with lolcats, the book can serve as something of a guide. The only audience McCulloch doesn’t cater to are the gripers who believe English is a precious urn to be maintained rather than, as she puts it, a splendidly 'living, moving' thing.
...McCulloch dives deep into the portal, and she returns with a bevy of cutesy sarcastic asides and chatty, linguist-next-door remarks ready-made for readers to repeat at a party. It all amounts to a digestible introduction for those with minimal literacy in internet culture or linguistics ... McCulloch tells us where our current use of language has got us to—her book is 'a snapshot of a particular era and a lens that we can use to look at future changes.' But how it makes us feel, and what it’s doing to us, that may be a story for another language.
...[an] effervescent study of how the digital world is transfiguring English ... Through gifs, emojis, and the playful repurposing of standard punctuation, McCulloch insists, Internet natives are bringing an unprecedented delicacy and nuance to bear on their prose ... McCulloch’s own style is the endearingly nerdy presentation of an educator ... She’s inside the clubhouse, sipping Martinis with Philosoraptor and Doge. All language declares identity, and yet the performative aspect of McCulloch’s writing feels, itself, Internetty—deeply concerned with inclusion and exclusion ... A sense of doubleness, of trade-offs, is what is perhaps lacking from this celebration of Internet style. Yes, emotional precision is more accessible to the digital writer. (Evoking a mix of outrage and self-deprecation is easy when you have caps lock.) But sometimes discipline vivifies thought. Sometimes, to co-opt a modernist principle, difficulty is good. One wonders whether the eggplant emoji, a shorthand for lust, discourages less efficient, but more original, expression: Rachel Cusk’s formal restraint, or the smolder of an Alan Hollinghurst sentence. McCulloch would say it doesn’t. Maybe that’s true. Her book’s almost political thesis—the more voices, the better—rebukes both the élitism of traditional grammar snobs and the cliquishness of, say, Tumblr. It’s a vision of language as one way to make room for one another.