As writing technology changes over time, so have the the communities of readers.Era's can be defined by writing space, and the readers demand of text. For Greeks and Roman, writing space was defined by a papyrus role divided into textual columns and facilitated an oral culture. Medieval handwriting and the mass producing printing press offer bound white pages that contain singular, linear text. Hypertext represents a collective culture of ideas, that link authors and readers to a malleable text with visual media. Bolter associates the "late age" of print with flexibility and interactivity, refashioning the stability and authority of print.
It is interesting that books may not "master our reason and feelings" as they used to. (qtd. pg.4 ) Moving towards a digital age, information is perceived in a more visual and aural sense, making alphabetic text appear static. Websites such as wikipdia, allow for new entries, edits and links giving text a feeling of impermanence. Hypertext allows each reader to make choices, by following hypertext or links, that can supplement learning for different audience levels with different viewing agendas. The associative style of websites reflects the human nature of the mind.(pg. 42) In support, a report by science daily concluded, human memory relies mostly on association and objects frequently seen together to become linked in our mind; when we try to retrieve information, one thing reminds us of another, which reminds us of yet another, and so on. In essence, this is the same way hypertexts help users navigate through websites.
Electronic writing's role as a refashioner is not complete, but has certainly changed the way humans want to perceive and respond to media. The ease and rapid change of information, in addition to eye and ear stimulants give text and media today a new reality. More over, computers are being recognized as writing technologies, a medium for entertainment and expression, which changes the mode of our visual and verbal communication. Hypertext may immediately appeal to more human senses then simply a printed book would, however I don't see an the near obsolescence of printed material. Internet searching, writing and communication are valuable to me, but I still prefer the simple and tangible, unified voice of a book or magazine.
Bolter, David Jay. Writing Space. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates 2001.