Monday, February 4, 2008

Versatility of Internet Writing

I thought that in the chapter, “Dispatches from the New Frontier: Writing for the Internet,” Camille Paglia’s comparison of the Internet to music and pieces of art was pretty interesting, as I do find that attractiveness of an article on the web does have a lot to do with its appearance. Though I did wonder about her view of advertisements on webpages. “Web pages crowned or rimmed by ads sometimes resemble medieval illuminated manuscripts, with their fantastic embellished lettering, and also Art Nouveau books and prints, with their undulating borders of running tendrils” (270). It seems odd that Paglia would see such things in ads on webpages. I guess I can see that she is trying to show that internet writing still has some connections with its roots in print writing, though many times I see ads as a nuisance as it sometimes draws the readers away from the actual article they are looking at, like it is in magazines or newspapers. I guess I just don’t see the artistic qualities in flashing ads and banners on a webpage. She obviously has a positive view of the layout and aesthetics of the Internet. Paglia gave descriptions of how ads can be seen as a form of art, so I find it interesting that there wasn’t any mention of photographs or images included in written work (probably because she is writer and not a photographer.)

She says that “Internet text at its best is streamlined,” (272) which I agree with; articles online have to be short and to the point in order to keep a readers’ attention. Though in addition to the writing in articles and the setup/format, I think that many readers are also attracted by images, like in magazines. While scrolling down a page, I assume the reader will most likely notice a photograph before noticing any eye-catching words (maybe photographs and images will be described in a different chapter.)

I also agree with her point that the Internet brings more freedom of access for readers and it also provides more information than in other news outlets, such as on television. For example, I recently saw a clip from ABC news about how a religious group was planning on picketing Heath Ledger’s funeral (sorry for bringing it up, but it was the first and most recent thing that came to mind) and the newscaster stated that he wasn’t going to give the name of the religious group because he did not want to provide more publicity for them. However, if one were to put a simple search in Google, the name of the group is given all over the place. So not only does the Internet allow constant information to be transferred and updated almost immediately, but also provides information that would otherwise be filtered out. Although I did wonder just how effective it would be by refusing to tell the name since, if people were curious, they would search for it online, and they would find their website. So, wouldn’t that be providing publicity, just in an indirect way by provoking our curiosity? It seems that older forms of media are helping to push people into looking things up on the Internet, further showing how versatile Internet writing is.

1 comment:

Lance Strate said...

I think what Paglia was pointing to was the similarity in form and pattern between the web page with its ads and the illuminated manuscript (which predates printing, by the way). We see ads as irritations because of their content, but it's another story entirely if you look at it simply in terms of aesthetics. And that is how they will be seen in the future, when they no longer function as actual attempts to persuade. McLuhan was one of the first to note that advertising is one of the great art forms of the 20th century (and now the 21st).