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Thursday, February 19, 2004
 
Steve Taylor just emailed me to point out the discussion on hypertext that's been going on round Maggi Dawn's blog. Actually the discussion all started from the question of whether writing for a blog was a different form of writing...

The early conversation centred round the question of style, is a blog like or unlike e.g. a letter... Personally it seems to me that it is quite like a letter - except that one does not know the recipient; quite like a diary - except one knows that it might be public!

EXCEPT that the addition of features of electronic hypertext make it totally different:
  1. links make text plurisequential with a quasi-sequential text like print the author can assume the reader will follow a particular sequence; with a plurisequential hypertext authors cannot know the sequence the reader will follow but can imagine and create possible sequences for her

  2. user input makes text conversation even in the slow form of email comments about the Amos commentary users have impacted the text, but through the comments feature of a blog users not only join conversation with the author, but can hijack that conversation and direct it!


Whatever a blog is, it is not writing as we knew it a generation ago! Nor is any other hypertext.

PS, if anyone is really interested in these topics (enough to read page upon page of turgid academic prose) I've a couple of papers one online (though sadly for sale) an article "Form, Medium and Function: The Rhetorics and Poetics of Text and Hypertext in Humanities Publishing" in International Journal of the Book, Volume 1, 2003 the other only in print "Commentary beyond the Codex: Hypertext and the art of biblical commentary" in Cook, Johann (ed) Bible and Computer: The Stellenbosch AIBI-6 Conference. Proceedings of the Association Internationale Bible et Informatique, Leiden: Brill, 2002.


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