Saturday, December 10, 2005

One Of Many Possible Jumping Off Points

"Hypermedia marks the beginning of the adoption and exploitation of the computer as a medium, rather than simply as a tool." - Bob Cotton and Richard Oliver Understanding Hypermedia: from multimedia to virtual reality.
An obvious but (perhaps) necessary statement: what distinguishes one thing from another thing is not the ways in which they are the same, but the ways in which they are different.

One medium is distinguished from another by what it does that others don't: the traits and characteristics that are specific to it alone.

From Cornelius Hortolf's Hypermedia Theory:
In the hypermedia format the longer units (sections, chapters, appendices) and shorter units (footnotes, digressions, figures) of a conventional piece of work are brought into a single format. Hypermedia documents consist of a bricolage of 'nodes': blocks of texts, sounds and images composed, and to be read, in no specific order. In contrast to conventional texts (and perhaps especially conventional Ph.D. theses), there is no linear sequence in which a hypermedia document's pages are meant to be read and understood. A hypermedia document minimises the traditional status differentiation between the often sequential elements of a book or article, for equal status as independent pages is accorded to all elements (such as a work's table of contents, preface, ordered chapters, digressions, conclusions and implications for the future, notes, bibliography, appendices, indices; etc.).
In the words of deep-thinker of the web, David Weinberger, what we're really dealing with here is "small pieces loosely joined". So let's forget for a moment (or two) about those small pieces, and let's forget about postmodern questions of sequence and readership/authorship. What's really important is the "joining". The links.

The blog is a nifty-neato (if not entirely revolutionary) form of self-expression and self-publishing. All concerns about the pecularities of blog-content/blog-tone and nonlinearity aside, the power of the blog is in its connectivity. It resides on the ol' world wide web, and as a result is undeniably linked. Intentionally or unintentionally. Knowingly or unknowingly. To other blogs. To websites. To search engines. To all of the other parcels of information and thought that reside on and offline. To the great and wonderful collective of great and wonderful things.


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