media lines

I’d like to set up a hypothetical scenario.

Imagine a point anywhere, relative to any other point in space. A line extends from the point to infinity, right or left directional. Any other point, marked 1, 2 et cetera, on the line represents a linear sequence in relation to the beginning point, say the first page of a book, 17 indicating it’s last page, the first point, 1, beginning the linear sequence of the technology. The last page, in this example, is never 16.

We turn the pages of a book to get to its end, reading across the page and down, depending on how we were taught. The book is used in a linear way, even though we can always look for something that came before. But what element of the book makes it a linear technology, as opposed to a DVD where a menu will grant access to other entertainments?

The mind often works out of logical sequence. One thought will lead to another thought, often at randon. Digital hypertext can be linear and non-linear, creating an interface where one “starting point” could be represented by any link, any point in a sequence, formally speaking. The link “dog” could be placed next to “gem stone.” These two unrelated items could link back on their own referents. A reader could click on the link “dog” and read a story about “gem stones,” finding out later, maybe ironically, that the link “gem stone” told a story where everything in “dog” was colored blue, whereas “gem stone’s” similar objects were colored red, creating a world where coolness acts differently on the protagonist’s decisions. One links leads to the protagonist voting Republican. In the other, the protagonist votes Democrat, creating two different versions of history.

5 thoughts on “media lines

  1. gibb

    Man, every time I think I’m gettin’it, you throw us a curve. Or rather, create a line in a different direction that leads me away from the core. I need to think this one out. (At least I read them!)

  2. Neha

    Well sure, that’s new media for you. But can you imagine the chaos with books being non-linear? Or with tabs that said “go to pg. 32 if you want to create your own story”? You think people would’ve been able to handle that?

  3. Maureen

    I think that many folks would enjoy a non-linear book. Let’s face it, many folks are bored by books. The setup is predicatable..First the list of chapters..then the chapters themselves..

    Wouldn’t a non-linear book keep the attention of a reader..since he/she would have to “work” to find out more info?

    This setup reminds me of a labyrinth. I think that’s fascinating.

    Certainly, children born in the video game age would appreciate this new media..It’s like going on a joureny..clicking onto a “gemstone” or “dog”..instead of just going at it line by line…

    Who says it has to be line by line anyway?

    Most Graciously

    *A Mayde in her own little woode…

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