I’ve been mulling over our class discussions about how hyperlinks influence the way that we read online. Do they encourage us to follow the train of someone else’s thoughts instead of digesting the material for ourselves? If you’d asked me two weeks ago I would have come down in the vehemently anti-hyperlink camp. I skipped over them and feel somewhat haughty as I did; obviously I’m not going to divide my attention by hopping to another page!
Now I’m starting to rethink my position (which is very exciting, because isn’t that part of what grad school is about?)
I found an interesting blog by a man named Venkatesh Rao who argues that, “… when you browse and skim, you aren’t distracted and unfocused. You are just reading a very dissonant book you just made up.” (check it out, www.ribbonfarm.com/2009/07/01/the-rhetoric-of-the-hyperlink/ ). For Rao, hyperlinks do not force us to read in a particular fashion; they allow us to decide for ourselves how we’re going to read. Additionally, they can incorporate the ideas of multiple sources and authors instead of focusing on a single voice. Community, independence and flexibility… I might have to switch to the pro-hyperlink camp. I even wanted to be cute and ironic by working some clever hyperlinks into this article but I don’t know how to do it yet. Looks like I’ll have to learn! Thanks for reading.