I’ve read a lot of defenses and descriptions of hyperlinks, but this may be the most poetic:
But hyperlinks aren’t just the skeleton of the web: they are its eyes, a path to its soul. And a blind webpage, one without hyperlinks, can’t look or gaze at another webpage – and this has serious consequences for the dynamics of power on the web.
Part prescient critique, part nostalgic complaint; a little glib and a lot biased – but Hossein Derakhshan’s essay is in the ballpark of righteousness. He benefits from the unique position of having held a measure of power through the ’00s and having no access to the internet at all during Facebook’s empire-building of the last seven years: it allows him to see the present social network platform oligarchy as a whole and strange thing.
Also, though his essay skids off the rails after this section, this bit is totally real – emphasis mine:
Fewer users are directly checking dedicated webpages, instead getting fed by a never-ending flow of information that’s picked for them by complex and secretive algorithms.
Welcome to 2016 everyone.
Screencap via The Awl.
While I wanted to believe the study, it was clearly a hoax. Still, I begrudge its believers – that Internet Explorer is such an awful brand name these days is what gives the ApTiquant (née Sokal) Affair the taint of reality.
And it’s deserved criticism. I feel dumber every time I use that browser, that by troubleshooting for its rendering engine, enduring its comparatively slow performance, and attempting to comprehend its persistent lack of a sensible Ctrl+L behavior, I am rendered slightly less alive. Or maybe it’s the thought of Internet Explorer’s resilient hegemony, throbbing along on the fetid fumes of versions 6 and 7, polluting this series of tubes, that drives me to activities that kill my brain cells.
So no research has borne out that Internet Explorer users, as a bloc, are (not) almost retarded. But in the age of WebKit and Firefox and iPhones and Androids, Internet Explorer’s users seem less and less apathetic and more and more adamantly unsavvy. Using Internet Explorer by rational choice at this point is equal to claiming that Barack Obama was born outside the United States. The browser is so loathsome I can’t even think of hipsters who use it ironically.
And as a designer – and with no intention to sully fine prose – “borne back ceaselessly into the past” and what have you.
(In case you were actually interested in answering the question of why people still use Internet Explorer, see Mozilla’s series on why people don’t upgrade their browsers.)