In many ways this interface feels like a party, but one where people politely wait for others to finish talking (as I rarely do).
I have two thoughts. First, these sorts of conversations are empowered by CPU power. For example, I am writing from a fast computer, with its own IP address, with sufficient memory that I can have the ACW web page, my word processor and my mail interface all operating at the same time. Until others possess this sort of "tool," we can't really demonstrate the facility, the functionality of such hypertexts. The tools--modems, networks, web pages, RISC chips--have created this electronic conversation, and we lucky/farsighted pioneers will have trouble translating our experience for those without exposure to them.
Second, and related, until others begin designing their own hypertexts using html tags or authoring programs like HyperCard, SuperCard, or Toolbox the discussion will stay pretty theoretical. I have a colleague who has edited a scholarly edition of Women In Love. When I showed him how a hypertext worked, his theoretical ears perked up. But when I dogged him into trying to produce his own (using a short Dickinson poem) his whole approach changed. He is now designing a brand new hypertextual interface for scholarly editions that lets the reader call up and choose from multiple editions of the "text." He is applying theory through technology to change reality.
So our mission, to paraphrase Trent [Batson], is to prepare the way for the next wave, like the good John the Baptists we are.
Date: Wed, 22 Feb 1995 15:08:06 EDT Sender: CyberJournal for Rhetoric and Writing
From: Ed Klonoski Subject: cowrite: Do You Have Something To Say