March 9, 2006

Porous and Provisional

There's a lot of new stuff in Hypertext 3.0. Landow says that there's something new on almost every page. I'm enjoying the new sections on hypertext phenomena that hadn't happened back in the Hypertext 2.0 days. Like the intersection of search and engines and intimate weblogs.

I've been talking lately about weblogs written for a circle of friends or colleagues or like-minded individuals -- a family or a professional society or a team. They aren't read by millions, and aren't meant to be. They're intimate weblogs.

But Google indexes intimate weblogs too, along with everything else. And, though your interests may be special, you might talk about things that interest others. Or you might seem to talk about things that interest others; everyone who has studied their web stats has marveled at the strange things people ask search engines to find, and wondered what possessed the search engine to send them to you. Norwegian Bokmal?

This can be a problem: fear of discovery led Elin to give up blogging, or at any rate to take her weblog underground. But it's also an opportunity for building bridges to new readers and to discovering new interests and allies.

Landow puts this nicely:

The edges of a blog, like the borders of any document on the Internet, are porous and provisional at best. Most of the time when we consider the way digital media blur the borders of documents, we mean that links and search tools limit the power of authorship. In blogs we encounter a new prose genre that also unsettles our long-standing assumptions about public and private.