Now that sounds like a rather academic approach, doesn't it?

This essay started out as an introduction to a reflective review of three and a half years of Boidem columns. It's original intent was to outline parameters for examining how and why the columns developed as they did, and to point toward whatever preliminary conclusions may have been reached through the experience of writing them. That seems, more or less, like a respectable academic endeavour.

But even as I try to write this in a straightforward expository manner I hear a small voice whispering "it can't be done", and "if you've learned anything from all this, you have to follow through with it, even here". In other words, I can't discuss the uses of hypertext, or the inter-fusing of the personal with the universal that is an ongoing theme of these columns, without allowing that to happen here as well. That small voice keeps popping up and telling me "practice what you preach".

I have a modest collection of bookmarks that is a favorite of mine: a list of academic articles that discuss the wonders of hypertext, yet do so in a fully linear fashion, without even a small link as lip-service. On the whole I find the arguments of these papers quite convincing (as though I was hard to convince), yet because of that their body-language is for me doubly disturbing. If hypertext is such a great thing, why cant' those writing about it use it?

The question of limits is an important (and for me, sometimes disturbing) one. This essay shouldn't only start out, it should also reach some sort of conclusion. It will. But it also tries to express in its very structure those aspects of the medium under discussion that make it interesting.

Go to: Web Essays - The evolution of a (personal?) medium