[Corpora-List] The genre of the Web

Mark P. Line mark at polymathix.com
Sun Sep 18 21:34:00 CEST 2005

John F. Sowa wrote:

> I agree with Mark Lane on that point:


> > I don't think of the Web as a genre at all.


> On the other hand, it's not clear that the web

> is a medium.


> > It's a very flexible medium, in fact, because

> > it seems to carry all genres effectively.


> In that regard, it's more like a very dynamic

> library. But it is also as interactive as

> telephones or video games (which it carries

> as well).

For me, a medium is anything that can carry content. The concept is useful
because it allows us to reify content from the many media that might carry
it, and to reify media from the many kinds of content they might carry.

There are media for static content as well as media for dynamic content,
and there are media for storage as well as media for retrieval and
transmission, but they're all media to my mind.

I certainly think of the telephone system as a medium, and specific
console game platforms are media. Even a library is a medium, because a
library is not the same as the set of books it carries (its content): A
large conical pile ready to light the match is also a set of books, but it
is not a library. The content is not the medium.

When I choose to think of the Web as a medium, I am emphasizing its role
as the carrier for an exploding variety of content modalities. All that
content, even dynamic content, is still ultimately just a set of
datafiles. You can have all the files you want, but they're nothing
without the medium -- nothing without the Web.

-- Mark

Mark P. Line
San Antonio, TX

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