SansBlogue  
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
  Blogging: text, hypertext and writer-text
Before I return to the past, a recent post by Stephen Carlson really caught my interest. In "Blogging as Hypertext" Stephen continues a discussion of blogging pre-publication of ideas.
[Previous posts include:
Among other things Patrick comments that for writing a coherent paper (he is a grad-student) it was
easier to make it into a more coherent paper first and then convert some of it into blog posts after the fact.
He speculates
It is a little bit different, as I'm not planning on publishing it.
Actually, I don't think that this difference is significant, though maybe the question of the sort of coherence required IS.

In that connection Stephen quotes my SBL Forum article, "Hypertext and Publication in Biblical Studies" (May 2004), concerning text and hypertext and how each relates to different scholarly genres. He then poses the question:
Where does blogging fit into this? It is more like text or hypertext?
He notes the supercficial linearity of a blog post - a text-like feature, but goes on to note also the tendency for blog posts to be short and reverse chronological (newest at the top) as hypertext-like features.

He concludes with the provocative comment:
Early discussions of hypertext often focused on the reader’s experience. Perhaps blogging ought to be viewed as the new hypertext, but from the writer’s perspective.
Such a focus on the "writerly" nature of blogging is a major reason why blogs are seen as a feature of Web 2.0 (whatever that convenient but infuriating slogan cliche actually means!), and after all many of any blogs readers are themselves bloggers... (How many of Kevin's ["Google Analytics"] "women ... named Suzanna", and the rest of us, ourselves have blogs?!)

And, this writing for and in a community of writers (or several overlapping communities as most of us do) gives a blog post another and perhaps more significantly hypertextual feature, posts link. Unlike many self-conscious hyper-texts this linking is not often internal. [Except where the author is trying to subvert the nature of the medium, "by imposing a linear structure on top of the blog, for example, by naming conventions for each post or limiting hypertext links to the next post in the desired “logical” sequence."]

Most blog posts though have one or several external links, connecting this coherent fragment of text to other fragments by other authors, surely an epitome of hyper-textuality.

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