Evan Bryce Riddle


What’s all the Hype about?

After having a look through George Landow’s words on Hypertext, I was left feeling a little overwhelmed with all the information to intake. Not in the sense that it was convoluted and uninterpretable, but more so that there were so many discussion pathways I could take from it. Here’s one.

What is Hypertext anyway?

hyperThe first time I heard the word Hypertext was a few weeks ago within the Networked Media class. It was a new concept, or so I thought. Little did I know that in fact I have been a user of hypertext for years, I just didn’t really know what it was. It’s like when you finally learn someone’s name and you suddenly remember how you know them. It all (well, some) makes sense now!

Hypertext is, from what I understand, the interactive text that is displayed on a screen. The foundation of hypertext are hyperlinks. The text that usually appears blue and when you click on it, teleports you to a new online experience, something funny, informative or just plain ludicrous. It can be activated by a click, or literally at the touch of a finger. Hypertext is the base concept for the World Wide Web. It provides the connecting network from one page to another.

However, all we all know, hyperlinks are not bound to a textual link.  That brings up something known as hypermedia. It is like hypertext, but is not limited to simply words, but can incorporate many different media and digital forms. Hypermedia is fast becoming, and already established as the new kid on the digital block. It encompasses sound, video, graphics, as well as text. Hypermedia is not possible without hypertext though, as it is the HTML coding which creates digital pathways from one page, video, etc. to another. It Is interesting when we look as the etymology; Hyper comes from greek, meaning “beyond” or “over”. It signifies the surpassing of the previous linear constraints of written text.

Landow suggests that students, including myself have to be careful and be aware that when it comes to hypertext. We are writing in the presence of other texts. They may contradict, or support our contention, so it is important to keep in mind that additional sources are simply a mouse click away. For example, I suggest keeping posts factually accurate. Hypertext allows readers to simply examine a similar document which proves you false, and thus deems you as untrustworthy and unreliable for future works.

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