I side with the belief that hypertext is an incredibly useful digital text-making tool. As Vandendorpe put it, because it can “link seamlessly billions of pages as if they were a single entity, a constantly evolving book“. This is the beauty of a digital text that does not transfer back to its ancestor, the print book. To echo what Brian Turner wrote in his blog post, hypertext “can allow a reader to have access to much more information within a more confined digital space,” which really just means that it can make work accessible.
Unfortunately, hypertext in its modernly understood context is only available through digital media. Print books can have similar allusion to reference material and suggestions to find more information in other areas, but tapping that part of the book will not open that information. Pushing on the headline of a newspaper article will not bring up a related video clip. With hypertext, the work can be unbelievably thorough and offer information about multiple different subjects to a reader, sending them down a rabbit hole of knowledge they would never have received otherwise. In most cases where hypertext is not available to continue the information highway, most people fizzle out in their search for new information. People, like many animals with full stomachs and good shelter, are lazy because they don’t need to do anything, and will for that reason only continue on a path if that path is made simple to follow.
I suppose the biggest setback of hypertext is the possibility that the reader will never return to the original work, choosing instead only to focus on the hypertexted information. If the intention is to have someone follow a work all the way through, hypertexting may actually be a bad idea. I don’t know what else to say on this so I’m going to end this, I’m done now.