Position Paper #2

William P. Wend
Prof Rettberg
Intro To New Media Studies

Position Paper #2

In the three pieces of hypertext we have looked at recently in class, each gave the reader a unique perspective and reading experience.  The reader has very varied choices while viewing and reading these pieces.  In Michael Joyce's Afternoon there are hidden links that the reader must mouse over with their mouse to discover.  The reader may also choose from a sidebar list of word destinations. Stephanie Strickland's The Ballad Of Sand and Harry Soot also has hyper-textual links.  Instead of links in a sidebar, there are also links at the bottom of the screen.  They change color like any normal web page to signify that the reader has viewed the page already.    There are also hyper-linked pictures which will take the reader to another place in the piece.  Caitlin Fisher's These Waves Of Girls has all of this plus a little more for the reader. There are hyper-linked pictures and hypertext which, when moused over, opens up to even more hypertext.  This is very fancy and pretty looking!  In the hypertext that opens there is more links and sub folders of links underneath it.

Being given these choices as a reader definitely effected what I clicked on next.  In Afternoon the choices were basically, unless the reader wants to spend time discovering links, limited to what is presented in the sidebar.  Afternoon is a wonderful piece of hypertext, but that is a bit boring.  In The Ballad Of Sand And Harry Soot the pictures are much more alluring and interesting to choose as a reader unless a specific word that peaks curiosity comes along. These Waves Of Girls has all of this and more.  This is a very pretty piece with beautiful visuals and exceptional writing.  Because of the subject nature of the writing I was immediately hooked and wanted to read the entire piece.  The presentation of so many different choices between clicking pictures, text, or discovering even more text made the piece enjoyable and made me want to go back for another reading. 

For the most part, the way the links were set up made my reading a better experience. In Afternoon, however, the set up was a bit awkward and bulky. Being able to choose from a bunch of different links on the side is nice and all, but as a reader I would rather choose from hyper-links. Afternoon is an older piece though, so I don't think it is fair to really hold this against an excellent work.  In both Strickland and Fisher's pieces the links enhanced my reading experience.  The pictures in Strickland were nice and gave me more options that my reading of Afternoon.  The depth of options for a reading in Fisher and Strickland's pieces made me eager to view, read more, and eventually complete the text.  The frames, while an outdated way to set up a webpage, worked for me despite their bulky and ugly look.  I enjoyed having a multitude of options in front of me as a reader while trying to complete the text.  More so than the other pieces, Fisher's work allowed for a complete reading experience. 

As stated before, the vast amount of choices given to the reader in These Waves Of Girls and The Ballad Of Sand And Harry Soot enabled me, as a reader, to explore the text and spend a lot more time in one sitting reading hypertext than I normally would.  Often I only read in short bursts, but for both of these pieces I spent a good amount of time exploring them.  Afternoon didn't necessarily disable my reading but I did feel like, because of the smaller amount of options available at any given time, it was a lot more linear than the other pieces I read.