>Consider Eco’s caution against “the alibi of photocopies”: “A student makes hundreds of pages of photocopies and takes them home, and the manual labor he exercises in doing so gives him the impression that he possesses the work. Owning the photocopies exempts the student from actually reading them. This sort of vertigo of accumulation, a neocapitalism of information, happens to many.” Many of us suffer from an accelerated version of this nowadays, as we effortlessly bookmark links or save articles to Instapaper, satisfied with our aspiration to hoard all this new information, unsure if we will ever get around to actually dealing with it.
>Because there’s so much out there, I end up bookmarking articles I come across more often than actually reading them on the spot. This is a kind of reading practice, I suppose, one I’ve fallen into in order to deal with the glut of material online. But it’s basically just leaving breadcrumbs behind, trying to form a cognitive map of everything that’s out there so that, if necessary, I can circle back around and dive deeper into a particular topic given the signposts I’ve left for myself. Robert Pfaller writes about this a bit in his book Interpassivity: The Aesthetics of Delegated Enjoyment. (Grant Wythoff)
One of my beliefs is that Are.na has potential not just as a researching platform for other projects (blogging, presentation decks, web design, gallery exhibits) but as a publishing platform in its own right, where users are able to present ideas to an audience. One way to do this is to build sort of playlists for ideas, where by assembling text and media documents you're actually making a sort of argument, or presenting a sort of worldview. Another way is by using the container system as a format to stack and structure original fragments of ideas.
I'm tempted to use the word "postmodern" to describe this publishing platform, because there's a way in which things are deconstructed into blocks, but that's actually missing the fundamental mechanism of how Are.na works. What's actually happening is reconstruction, where a bunch of scattered blocks are built into a new structure all of their own.
Hypertext is not technology but Literature. Literature is the information that we package and safe (first just books and newspapes and magazines, now movies and recordings and CD-ROMs and what-all). The design of tomorrow's literature determines what the human race will be able to keep track of and understand. These are not issues to be left to "technologists".