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Why-Everything-On-The-Internet-Is-The-Opposite-Of-How-It-Is-In-Print

Page history last edited by Mary Harrington 12 years, 11 months ago

Lots of what we take for granted about the stuff we read is actually shaped by the, er, printy nature of print. So if you try and recreate book-type formats online it doesn't really work, because the constraints and opportunities of the Web are different.

 

I want to talk about some of these printy assumptions, and suggest some qualities that strike me as important in order for net-native writing (especially fiction) to work on its own terms, rather than as a disappointing poor relation of the print sort.

Comments (3)

Kevin O'Neill said

at 3:14 pm on Jan 12, 2009

I was just writing about this for a (separate) presentation I'm doing on Thursdays -- the McSweeney's website is a terribly successful example of what works online, but with absolutely minimal design. Let's talk! How do you get people to read online? Has to be < 500 words? How do you convince people to spend more than ten minutes (five minutes? (two minutes??)) reading one page? Do you need frames, multiple pages, etc...

Michael Bhaskar said

at 5:26 pm on Jan 12, 2009

Hi Mary- am currently sketching out something along these lines (in my head anyway) that is looking at orality literacy and the web, the interplay between them. Should probably get something down...

Adam Maxwell said

at 12:21 pm on Jan 13, 2009

This is definitely true, what I think people don't take into account is the fact that readers have different expectations from different mediums. This is not just true of print versus web but also desktop web as opposed to the web on mobile devices. I'm also convinced that both web and print are extremely important, it is just the case that each will need to find their level.

Video never did kill the radio star...

@Kevin - I have found through my own experiences and experiments on my personal website http://www.adammaxwell.com that I could build up an audience through really short fiction but that I could get away with much longer pieces as well. Regularly producing quality content (whilst extremely difficult) is a better way to ensure long term readership.

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