robertogreco + hyperlinks   11

The Rabbit-Hole Rabbit Hole - The New Yorker
"How did “rabbit hole,” which started its figurative life as a conduit to a fantastical land, evolve into a metaphor for extreme distraction? One obvious culprit is the Internet, which has altered to an indescribable degree the ways that we distract ourselves. Twenty years ago, you could browse for hours in a library or museum, spend Saturday night at the movies and Sunday at the mall, kill an afternoon at the local video arcade or an evening at its X-rated analogue—but you couldn’t do those things every day, let alone all day and night. Moreover, content-wise, you couldn’t leapfrog very far or very fast from wherever you started, and there was a limit to the depth and nichiness of what you were likely to find; back then, we had not yet paved the road between, say, Dorothy Hamill and a comprehensive list of Beaux-Arts structures in Manhattan, nor archived for the convenience of humankind ten thousand photographs of fingernail art. Then came the Internet, which operates twenty-four hours a day, boasts a trillion-plus pages, and breeds rabbit holes the way rabbits breed rabbits.

Those online rabbit holes, while wildly variable in content, take recognizable forms. One is iterative: you’re settling down to work when you suddenly remember that you meant to look up that flannel shirt you saw in a store but couldn’t find in your size, and the next thing you know, it’s two hours later and you have scrutinized two hundred and forty-five flannel shirts. Another is exhaustive: you go in search of a particular fact—say, when Shamu debuted at SeaWorld—and soon enough you are well on your way to compiling a definitive account of captive killer whales. A third is associative: you look up one thing, which leads to looking up something distantly related, which leads to looking up something even further afield, which—hey, cool Flickr set of Moroccan sheep. Thus have I have gone from trying to remember the name of a Salinger short story (“Last Day of the Last Furlough”) to looking up the etymology of “furlough” (Dutch) to wondering whether it had any relationship to “furlong” (no) to jogging my memory about the exact distance represented by that unit of measure (an eighth of a mile), to watching approximately every major horse race since the development of the movie camera.

Experiences like these are so common today that, if Carroll had never written “Alice in Wonderland,” we would have needed to invent some other way to describe them. (We might have been aided in that quest by the fact that both nets and webs connote capture and entanglement. Or maybe by analogy to sinkholes we’d have linkholes, or perhaps we’d all get stuck in hypertraps.) But why, one wonders, was “rabbit hole” such a natural appropriation? Granted, Alice, too, accidentally wound up in a convoluted environment, spent more time there than she anticipated, couldn’t find a way out, and emerged, when she finally did, rather dazed. But much the same could be said of Dorothy in Oz, and of a great many others characters transported—by cyclone, wardrobe, mirror, or tollbooth—to mysterious lands.

As a metaphor for our online behavior, however, the rabbit hole has an advantage those other fictional portals lack: it conveys a sense of time spent in transit. In the original story, Alice falls for quite a while—long enough to scout out the environment, grab some food off a passing shelf, speculate erroneously about other parts of the world, drift into a reverie about cats, and nearly fall asleep. Sounds like us on the Internet, all right. In the current use of “rabbit hole,” we are no longer necessarily bound for a wonderland. We’re just in a long attentional free fall, with no clear destination and all manner of strange things flashing past.

For us Alices, these journeys into the rabbit hole can feel accidental and out of our control; thus do we describe them as “falling,” rather than leaping. That’s a somewhat disingenuous take, since there’s no such thing as digital gravity, but it’s true that many Web sites are deliberately designed to function as rabbit holes, and the most successful are routinely described as such. "



"Consider armadillos. Consider digitigrades. Consider all of this, and I don’t see how you can regard rabbit holes as anything other than boundlessly interesting and terrifically fun. And yet, as the phrase has grown more popular, it has acquired a largely negative undertone. By far its most famous post-“Alice” use appears in “The Matrix,” in a context that is unmistakably dystopian. (Morpheus, on offering Neo the red pill: “You stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.”) Conspiracy theorists, likewise, love rabbit holes, for the suggestion of a hidden reality beneath the semblance of things, and even the cheery and the sane increasingly use the phrase to describe anything that is dark, unpleasant, or byzantine. The American criminal-justice system is sometimes characterized as a rabbit hole, as is U.S. health insurance, Verizon tech support, and anything having to do with United Airlines. The phrase has even evolved an off-label use to describe a downward spiral in mental health. In 2012, Taylor Swift cautioned against going “too far down the rabbit hole of what people think about you,” and an article on depression refers to people thinking, “ ‘I’m worthless,’ and off down the rabbit hole they go.”

In all of these cases—dystopia, conspiracy, bureaucracy, despair—the salient feature of the rabbit hole is that you cannot find your way out. That can also seem true of our semi-accidental online excursions, but the rabbit hole as metaphor for distraction is not a purely negative thing. Unlike “time sink” or “time suck” or just plain “waste of time,” “falling down the rabbit hole,” when used in this sense, suggests not a total loss but a guilty pleasure. Sure, we could have spent those hours reading Thomas Mann—but go tell that to Alice. When her story begins, she is terribly bored: not just in general, by the prospect of a slow summer day, but in specific, by what we would today call long-form writing. “And what is the use of a book,” she wonders, after glancing over her older sister’s shoulder, “without pictures or conversations?”

Of many uses, this book critic would hasten to tell her. But I would say much the same thing about rabbit holes and the headlong, hopscotching, borderline-random encounters they enable. And I wouldn’t be the first. In “Tristram Shandy,” Laurence Sterne wrote, “Digressions, incontestably, are the sunshine—they are the life and soul of reading.” In “The Anatomy of Melancholy,” Robert Burton described his mind as “like a ranging spaniel, that barks at every bird he sees.” That’s the happiest image of intellectual appetite I’ve ever encountered, and I suspect that Burton—and Sterne, too—would have appreciated the current proliferation of rabbit holes. The common charge against our online habits is that they are shallow; but, in keeping with the metaphor, rabbit holes deepen our world. They remind us of the sheer abundance of stuff available to think about, the range of things in which it is possible to grow interested. Better still, they present knowledge as pleasure. The modern rabbit hole, unlike the original, isn’t a means to an end. It’s an end in itself—an end without end, inviting us ever onward, urging us to keep becoming, as Alice would say, curiouser and curiouser."
kathrynschulz  rabbitholes  books  culture  reading  time  2015  internet  online  web  cv  curiosity  distraction  howweread  hyperlinks  hypertext  howwelearn  interests 
june 2015 by robertogreco
The Rhetoric of the Hyperlink
"The hyperlink is the most elemental of the bundle of ideas that we call the Web. If the  bit is the quark of information, the hyperlink is the hydrogen molecule. It shapes the microstructure of information today.  Surprisingly though, it is nearly as mysterious now as it was back in July 1945, when Vannevar Bush first proposed the idea in his Atlantic Monthly article, As We May Think. July 4th will mark the second anniversary of Ribbonfarm (I started on July 4th, 2007), and to celebrate, I am going to tell you everything I’ve learned so far about the hyperlink. That is the lens through which I tend to look at more traditional macro-level blog-introspection topics, such as “how to make money blogging,” and “will blogs replace newspapers?” So with a “Happy Second Birthday, Ribbonfarm!” and a “Happy 64th Birthday, Hyperlink,” let’s go explore the hyperlink."
hypertext  hyperlinks  venkateshrao  2009  via:vruba  internet  web  writing  linking 
september 2014 by robertogreco
Zettelkasten – Wikipedia
"Der Zettelkasten ist ein Hilfsmittel bei der Erstellung einer literarischen oder wissenschaftlichen Arbeit. Wichtig erscheinende Sachverhalte, die man z. B. in einem Buch gefunden hat, werden mit Quellenangabe…"

Google translation: "The card catalog is a tool in creating a literary or scientific work. Appears important issues that we found in a book, for example, has to be the source is noted on slips of paper and kept in boxes and sorted."

By using a list box or a breakdown Editors will read information is not lost. The card catalog serves as a reminder. Card indexes are shown in the qualitative text analysis were used.

A major advantage of a card index with respect to a linear text, in the form of a notebook without references, is the networking of content by indexing and cross-reference is created.

Using electronic media can be obtained by linking with hyperlinks virtual card indexes to create, for example in the form of a wiki or a blog."

[See also: http://www.delicious.com/cervus/zettelkasten AND http://www.flickr.com/people/zettel/ AND http://zettelkasten.tumblr.com/ ]
words  german  cardcatalog  notetaking  cv  process  howwework  hypertext  hyperlinks  del.icio.us  pinboard  wikis  blogs  cross-referencing  productivity  science  web  management  tools  from delicious
april 2011 by robertogreco
Does the Internet Make You Smarter? - WSJ.com
"Digital media have made creating and disseminating text, sound, and images cheap, easy and global. The bulk of publicly available media is now created by people who understand little of the professional standards and practices for media. Instead, these amateurs produce endless streams of mediocrity, eroding cultural norms about quality and acceptability, and leading to increasingly alarmed predictions of incipient chaos and intellectual collapse. But of course, that's what always happens. Every increase in freedom to create or consume media, from paperback books to YouTube, alarms people accustomed to the restrictions of the old system, convincing them that the new media will make young people stupid. This fear dates back to at least the invention of movable type."
2010  clayshirky  distraction  attention  academia  education  evolution  future  history  intelligence  revolution  society  learning  literacy  media  culture  change  online  web  internet  links  hypertext  hyperlinks  infooverload  filtering  sorting  curation  content  crapdetection 
june 2010 by robertogreco
PresidentialWatch08 » Map
"Access our map of the 292 influential sites making the debate on the presidential race. See how the different political communities are represented on the Internet. Identify the true opinion hubs and shapers in the debate."
2008  elections  visualization  trends  us  opinion  blogging  blogs  datamining  media  journalism  statistics  hyperlinks  maps  mapping  politics  infographics  semanticweb 
january 2008 by robertogreco
Semapedia.org: index
"Our goal is to connect the virtual and physical world by bringing the right information from the internet to the relevant place in physical space."
aggregator  location-based  ambient  annotation  taxonomy  folksonomy  semantic  semantics  semanticweb  mobile  phones  locative  location  maps  mapping  local  learning  information  geotagging  interactive  hyperlinks  qrcodes  socialnetworks  socialsoftware  semacode  tagging  geocoding  geography  everyware  ubicomp  ubiquitous 
october 2007 by robertogreco
"Click Here" Works (Better Than Other Generic Terms)
"Marketing Sherpa recently tested click-through rates for anchor text links in email. They found that "Click to continue" works far better than "Continue to article" or "Read more". But why?"
webdesign  marketing  usability  web  internet  hyperlinks  hypertext  links  webdev 
october 2007 by robertogreco

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