Wednesday 15 Aug 2018 | 19:01 | SYDNEY
Wednesday 15 Aug 2018 | 19:01 | SYDNEY

Woody Allen explains the hyperlink


Sam Roggeveen


10 November 2009 17:34

I gave a speech in Melbourne last week on 'New media and world politics' (video available soon on Slow TV). One of my arguments was that the internet improves accountability, in that it encourages writers to cite sources through hyperlinks. Because it's so easy to create links, readers tend to get suspicious of claims that are unsupported by them.

I asked the audience to think about reading an article in their favourite newspaper, and then to imagine what that article would look like if it were a blog post. Where would the writer need to cite evidence by way of hyperlinks to back up a claim? You could apply the same test to the next memo or report that crosses your desk at work.

The best demonstration I can think of to illustrate the power of the hyperlink comes from a famous scene in Woody Allen's 'Annie Hall'. At the end of the scene, Allen suggests wistully that the world would be a better place if you could just pull an authoritative source 'from the wings' to make your argument for you. Well, now you can. The hyperlink is your very own, portable Marshall McLuhan: