What I did in my last post, the Narrative Wars, was use depth through hyperlinks. It’s a form of modern writing on the Internet that has since been bastardized by SEO – where linking to similar pages affects page rank, and thus people have a tendency to link laterally rather than in a hierarchical sense. The lateral linking allows for other perspectives on the same topics, and it definitely has it’s uses, but the depth is better served by building on pre-existing works. An example of that sort of work is Wikipedia.
Speaking for myself, I like to build on a topic – particularly when I’m not sure that the audience (of whom you are one, gentle reader) understands – and it allows me to use my posts as bricks. This highly unused way of writing on blogs and media is not a new idea – it isn’t always a great idea, either – but it stems from an old article in Byte Magazine, in the 1980s, where Apple was very excited about the use of hypertext for this sort of writing – particularly in the context of an encyclopedia.
What would have happened had some of the great writers in the past done this? I don’t know, but I like to think about it now and then. Rather than rewriting something that they or someone else had written about in a way that they wished to convey, imagine them being able to simply link to it and move on. With tabbed browsing on PCs and that ilk of technology, it becomes even easier for someone to follow.
On phones and tablets, not so much.
It’s probably one of the gaps reintroduced that needs to be removed again. It allows building of things beyond stringing things together, building on other things easily.
And really, it seems wasted on people who lack the curiosity to ask, “He means something by this – what does he mean?” – and clicking the link.