12: Hypertext and things

Hypertext and hyperlinks have been a part of digital text and media for a while now. I can remember using the computers during elementary, middle, and high school and seeing certain words underlined and blue, but I don’t ever remember clicking on them. There were times where I accidentally clicked on them, but I usually didn’t mean to and would immediately go back to the original page I was on. As I have learned more about hypertext, I can appreciate and understand its usefulness. In her blog post, Vivian wrote “With hypertext, you can begin reading one text, be taken to another text which you can read all the way through, and then go back to exactly where you left off in the original text, or you can get so distracted by clicking on new hypertext links in the new texts that you completely forget about the original text altogether. This creates new meanings and adds to the meaning of the original text” and I do agree with her assessment. However, as a consumer of media, I can honestly say that they can also be distracting/not necessary for the browsing/hunting type of reading I usually participate in on a computer (Vandendorpe, 205).

Hypertext can allow a reader to dive deeper into a subject they are reading about or look at related material. However, I also think hyperlinks can be distracting for a visual reader (what are all of these blue things?), or can create disconnect when jumping from one page to another. I like the idea of pages connecting tighter, which Belinda Barnet and Darren Tofts talk about in their book chapter, saying that Ted Nelson (the man behind “Xanadu”) “describes a type of computer-supported writing system that would allow for branching, linking, and responding text” (292). However, I do think that hypertext, the way it is now, may be a little cumbersome – you have to really know what the hypertext is and how to use it to use it effectively. While hypertext can be great for linking related materials and media together, I don’t think it’s at a place where this happens smoothly yet. With technology developing constantly, this is something that I think, as a society, we can improve to make hypertext even more integrated and “smooth” in digital media.


Word Count: 380

Barnet , Belinda, and Darren Tofts . “Too Dimensional: Literary and Technical Images of Potentiality in the History of Hypertext .” A Companion to Digital Literary Studies, www.digitalhumanities.org/companion/view?docId=blackwell/9781405148641/9781405148641.xml&chunk.id=ss1-5-9&toc.depth=1&toc.id=ss1-5-9&brand=9781405148641_brand.
Vandendorpe, Christian. “Reading On Screen: The New Media Sphere.” pp. 203–215.
Barnet, Belinda, and Darren Tofts. “Too Dimensional: Literary and Technical Images of Potentiality in the History of Hypertext.” pp. 283–300.