Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Hypertexts are a growing part of the way that we interact with the internet, and with people around us. My original introduction to the concept of a hypertext – was not with this course – but with a hypertextual adaptation of The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner. The text was set up in the hypertext so that it could be read both as a traditional linear text, and also in a reordered and restructured manner – that was more conducive to understanding the text as a whole – as opposed to the way that it is presented normally. However, this is a vast understatement of the power of a hypertext to change the way that we look at things. Because of its inherent non-linearity, the hypertext forces us to look at things in a new way – it forces us to make us think of things outside of our regular linear thought processes. The Stitch Bitch hypertext is a key example of one of the ways that the hypertext changes the way that we interact with new ideas and new material. Everyone’s experience with the hypertext was the same – but different. Although we all had access to the exact same physical construct – it was influenced by the paths that we chose through the information and the way that the order of our experiences colored the way that we experienced the text. Hypertexts are an interesting way to look at new media – in that they challenge what we have as preconceived ideas of both text and dynamism.

The challenge that I see with attempting to create hypertexts or to think critically about their contents – is that we will force them into a linear scheme that better approximates the way we think – as opposed to leaving them in their networked and more complex form.

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