The term that really drives me up the wall, though, is web page. Page connotes something stable, unchanging, and definite. A book page exists. A book page is. A web page, on the other hand, is a vastly more complicated structure. It is a set of instructions blasted from a server farm across the globe through fiber-optic cables, then interpreted by a computer’s hypertext transfer protocol browser and displayed by a light-emitting-diode screen. All this, by the way, is happening in real time—reconstituted at each millisecond through a unique and contingent tangle of systems—and is supported by the constant churn of the power grid, itself (incredibly) still commonly powered by burning coal. So instead of web page, I’d prefer the term web performance, which would remind us that this information is both immediate and ephemeral. In a sense, it is thousands of coal-powered virtual Rube Goldberg machines—lined up from end to end—that power our Facebook Paper apps on our iPhones.
The page implicitly recognizes that the whole world cannot live without interruption between the left and right bezels of your screen
The page, on the other hand, demands engagement. It demands you click and bring about that brief disrupting flash of white as you go from page to page.
Both web nostalgic and corporate approaches encourage us to remember the page as part of the web’s unrecoverable past and to treat it, when it does come our way as either an anachronism or a precious nostalgia piece.