Axe Newsroom promo

Why is Writing Caught within the Paper Age?

typewriter 1

As somebody who’s equally dedicated to books and the web, I’m endlessly fascinated by the failure of on-line writing to dwell as much as its potential as a kind. Previously, I wrote about how interactive ebooks have been as soon as seen as the way forward for books, and the way they’ve utterly didn’t dwell as much as what was projected about them. They are such a tiny area of interest that it’s debatable about whether or not they even rely as books as in any respect — what’s the road between a pick-a-path online game and an interactive book?

To some extent, I can see how interactive ebooks by no means took off. They are a formatting problem, since ePub or AZW is assumed to be largely textual content with the occasional static image, and ereaders and ereading apps are going to be designed round that. They’re tougher to provide for writers, too. And perhaps that’s simply not what readers need from books; perhaps the attraction of a e-book is that it’s a text-only medium — the alternative of one thing like TikTook.

But setting apart ebooks for a second, why is it that the majority writing on-line is written precisely as if it was on paper? We have so many extra instruments obtainable to us on this format. Online brief tales might have an embedded soundtrack, maybe one which adjustments as you scroll. (That certain feels like one thing we must always be capable to do by now.) Articles might embrace embedded polls, maybe with a responsive article that adjustments with the outcomes. While there are a number of on-line articles that embrace interactive video and pictures that change as you scroll, these are uncommon, and so they’re nonetheless pretty fundamental makes use of.

So why is it that our on-line writing is so static, when it might be formatted in an limitless array of how? Look at this publish. I’m penning this on a aircraft with no web connection. But that’s effective, as a result of I can simply sort away at a Word doc and replica it over later, perhaps including a number of hyperlinks then. The course of is functionally not very totally different from writing on a typewriter, regardless of that it’ll discover its house on the churning technicolor explosion of stimulus that’s the web.

There’s undoubtedly no scarcity of content material competing to your consideration on-line. There may even be a video advert embedded someplace on this web page that’s way more flashy than these phrases. And in the event you open different tabs or apps, there’s the firehouse of visible stimulus that’s TikTook, or a collage of visuals and textual content on Twitter, or a mess of different choices. With a lot competitors, shouldn’t that be breeding innovation? Instead, irrespective of which web site you open, from the New York Times to Book Riot to some rip-off weblog stuffed stuffed with website positioning phrase salad, you’ll see the identical fundamental format: black textual content on a white display screen, the occasional hyperlink, and perhaps a number of embedded photographs or movies.

When I began writing on-line, it was for a website referred to as Everything2, which was type of like Wikipedia if Wikipedia was voiced and likewise had brief tales, poetry, essays, and so on. It was a enjoyable place to get my toes moist within the writing world as a young person, and what I fell in love with whereas writing for them was writing with pipelinks. Like Wikipedia, your posts would come with many hyperlinks, however not like Wikipedia, these hyperlinks could lead on wherever. Hovering over a hyperlink would present the title of the web page it was directing you to, which means there was literal subtext in your writing.

I couldn’t get sufficient of this writing type. It gave poetry (sure, my teenage poetry, yikes) extra layers of which means, it clarified figures of speech with out clunky exposition, it added nuance and humor and even pressure by way of contradiction. It additionally opened up other ways for readers to work together with the textual content. It was completely coherent with out interacting with the pipelinks in any respect, however readers who hovered over them bought that easter egg of extra content material. Of course, they might additionally select to click on by way of all of these hyperlinks, and people items may work together with my very own in methods I didn’t even predict. And then they’d result in extra hyperlinks, and people to extra, and people to extra.

While I can nonetheless insert hyperlinks on this publish or in most anything I hyperlink on-line, the pipelink carried out a special operate. It was the textual content (within the title) that was the main focus, greater than the URL itself. I generally miss writing in that approach, although I’m utterly off form: it’s its personal artwork kind.

If simply that tiny operate that was included on a reasonably small website 15ish years in the past can change my writing a lot, I can solely think about which different instruments I’m lacking out on. I want that extra writing on-line rewarded attentive readers like these pipelinks did. 

Truthfully, it’s laborious to even think about what writing that was disconnected from the paper age would seem like, however I think about it could contain interactive parts, visuals, and (non-obligatory) sound. It would make the most of the entire potentialities that internet hosting writing on-line introduces. That’s to not say that there’s no place, even on-line, for easy black textual content on a white background, but it surely might use some options.

My coding expertise are such that sadly, I’ll possible not be the one to guide us into this courageous new world of on-line writing, however I’m hopeful that it’s coming, and that with it, I’ll be capable to discover entire new methods to jot down and even to assume. It’s about time for writing as a medium to maneuver past the paper format that was the one choice for thus lengthy. From stone tablets to papyrus to books to ebooks, I consider {that a} new writing evolution is coming, and I can’t wait to see it.

Source link

About The Author

Leave a Comment

Scroll to Top