Tagged: Laura Miller

This Means War With Hyperlinks

After reading the article “The Hyper Link War” by Laura Miller it really made me realize the emphasis most writers place on hyperlinks.  Hyperlinks are used so writers can help readers understand the material they are talking about better.  However, some people like Sarah Hepola would say “jokey links that don’t really add anything to the story; they strike her as “lazy,” an inconvenience to readers who are prodded to check out how clever the writer is.”  I totally agree with her stance, in fact I feel as though when you are transferred to a meaningless link, the content of the writing loses some of its value.  Readers would tend to lose focus on the previous content, and the article itself won’t be as meaningful and strong.

Miller talks about the difference between hyperlinks within the text and hyperlinks at the end of the text.  She performs an experiment by writing with end text, placing the hyperlinks and references at the end of the article.  She was able to achieve this by using Readability, which is browser plug-in that takes away all hyperlinks within a text and transfers them to the bottom.  The significant result from the experiment was, hyperlinks at the end of text forced writers to explain the material in more detail.  It becomes harder to write because you can’t place the task of having your material explained by someone else.  The writing has to be expressed completely and the author needs to decide what to leave in and what to leave out.  More writers should start using end-text links and instead of in-text links because it clearly evaluates the writers true potential.  The in-text links are only bothersome and most of the time people don’t even look at them, I know for a fact I don’t bother with them.  This only makes their writing confusing since the material doesn’t fully explain the topic.

I really like how Miller compared writing with end-text hyperlinks to the stages of cooking.  Without using the hyperlinks, the writer shows originality in their work.  This is just like how a chef prepares a meal from scratch with fresh ingredients to make a delicious meal.  With in-text hyperlinks on the other hand, the writer uses the links as a basis for their article.  The text isn’t fully explained unless you read the hyperlink, which is a substitute for doing actual work.  In comparison, it would be like chefs using frozen preservatives and premade vegetables to make a meal just for the convenience.  The end result, the use of preservatives isn’t as good as the use of fresh vegetables and this applies in the use of hyperlinks as well.

Writing should be able to explain a topic without the need to rely on hyperlinks; the links are only there for support.  The use of hyperlinks may be helpful in some cases, but it shouldn’t be the focus of the article.  Good writing is a balance between the use of hyperlinks and a detailed explanation.