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How Google warped the hyperlink

Wired – 30 years on, SEO and social media silos have replaced pre-web visions of linking: “You might think of the hyperlink as a relatively recent invention, but, at least conceptually, it’s not. But more than 70 years later, it’s warped beyond all recognition from what was first proposed. In the 1960s Ted Nelson introduced the concepts of hypertext and hyperlinking between text and media, proclaiming “everything is deeply intertwingled” in 1974, and, to race through history, a succession of pioneering, local, collaborative systems including Doug Engelbart’s NLS, HyperTIES, Microcosm and Brown University’s Intermedia, followed….Researchers used eye-tracking tech on 30 participants to find out how hyperlinks affect human readers’ experience of a web page. Confirming pre-web research on signalling theory, they found that people reading passages of text containing blue, underlined hyperlinks, or simply blue words, were more likely to re-read sentences when uncommon words were linked and therefore highlighted. (Berners-Lee doesn’t remember who decided on the standard blue, underlined hyperlinks though early browsers like Mosaic undoubtedly popularised them.)…”

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