Hypertext and Ideology


Finally comes to the final reflection. Hurray!!

I have to say that using a blog to hand in assignment is really something
extraordinary to me! But I think it is cool too because it is a digital literacy class and we can learn to make good use of digital media tool.
Referring to the previous blog posts, I found that if we are not writing a blog, many things cannot be done. For example, we cannot post Video, Picture and hyperlink in a printed hardcopy assignment. I also read some blog posts from my classmates, they did an excellent job, not only writing good argument, but also make use of hyperlink.

In my second blog post,” Is Hyperlinking a Trap?” ,I quoted a paragraph from the book :

“When we use links in this way they create associations, often implicitly uggesting a relationship between linked texts. If you think about it, the same thing happens when you put two sentences next to each other in print (for example. “He’s been behaving very oddly lately. He’s in love.” Here the second sentence implicitly stands in a relation that could be implied by a link. “And he gave some examples of the relationship between the hyperlink and the content. In my post, I claimed that Hyperlinking is kind of “extension of men”, it brings us a lot of advantages but it also has constraints too. And I quoted another Blog; the writer of that blog thinks that hyperlinking is leading us to the truth,that is the more information we can get the closer we reach to the truth.

After handing in the first two blog posts, we had classes to discuss a few more chapters of digital literacies. In Critical Literacies which is Chapter 7, and I have wrote a blog entry about the chapter. I think there are some connections between the two chapters; so it is worthy to write my last blog post about how I feel in these ideas.

In my entry of Critical Literacies, I made use of advertisements to argue that commercial agency and the brand like to instill their agenda into our mind. In the lesson, we learnt that how do people perceive the reality and the world is Ideology. There are many factors affect our ideology,how have we grown up, where do we come from, our occupation, our gender, our social status and our experience etc. all can interfere our ideology. Language is a tool to construct ideology, in the book Rodney and Hanfer wrote that “The function of language in forming propositions is called the ideational function of language because it allows us to express our idea about reality. We might, for example, attempt to construct proposition by asserting various kinds of ‘logical relationship’
like those discussed in Chapter 3 (e.g., part/whole, cause/effect).” The cascade of hyperlink is from the thoughts of one author to the spoken word to the written word to a set of
word-processed words to another set of word-processed words representing the thoughts of another author author or the same author at different time.

Hyper-writing has provided us a new reading experience, from traditional linear and serial strategy to mixed strategy. As a writer, we hyperlinked some terms or pictures, maybe we want to provide information, to give a full picture to the readers, at the same time, we maybe want to create a logical connection implicitly which is what we called the agenda of a writer. I think WordPress.com got a lot of examples to demonstrate how hyperlinks work. I know it is rude to show others’ blog without their permission ( originally, I want to make use of my classmates blog, but I don’tthink it’s a good idea ). However, I have hyperlinked the screen shot to their
blog, hope readers can go to their site to have a look. (Yes, and I feel better
after doing this.)

Kate Williams is arrested again


This is picked up from the Gossip Category, the entry is short but there are many hyperlinks. “Kate Willams”, “ DMX’s” are linked to Urban Daily website. “TMZ”, “KCRA”,“had been issued” are linked to other News websites which the styles are more formal than the Urban Daily. The writer may want to emphasize Kate Williams is really the talk of the town.

And you can see that at the bottom of the screen, there are five more hyperlinks, they have articles and videos. All these are about the negative things of Kate Williams. What I want to point out here is if this blog is not a blog, it is printed gossip news or magazine, the writer can’t make use of hyperlinks, readers who don’t know Kate William well, will flip to other page, but in digital media like blog, you can click the hyperlink to know more information. And what kind of information the writer provided usually will affect our thought about the issue.

Saying Goodbye To the Sticky Note Covered Wall


This girl blog is under the Inspiration Category. I found her blog interesting because she hyperlinked many words to Wikipedia, such as “seventh grade”, “ttyl”, “instant message” and “sticky notes”. From my point of view, this writer may presume that her readers may not live in American or Canada, haven’t read “Ttyl”series and have no idea about IM.


She also hyperlinked the community she obsessed in before, MySpace and her friend’s “friendfeed”.
This time, I think the writer wants to inspire people through sharing of life experience:how “Post-it” reminds her about the past.

How to keep friends


This entry is mainly about how writer thinks about extrovert and introvert women. It is not the same with the “post-it” blog, the writer here express her idea more explicitly. “Holidays
and birthdays and whatnot” “ requested “ “Smitten Immigrant” and “ambivert” are linked to the previous blog, other’s blog and Wikipedia respectively. These links are just for the opening for the entry.


The writer pointed out that it is not easy to balance between extrovert and introvert. And she hyperlinked “these” which is a website showing “25 Incredible Feats Of Extreme Balance!” , I think the writer want to show how difficult and suffering it is to get a well balance.

I read a journal : Reading Hypertext and the Experience of Literature , the researcher has make a discussion on “Thinking in Links”, he quoted: As Dryden (1994) puts it:”In its structure of branching links and nodes, hypertext simulates the mind’s associative processes, thereby providing an electronic platform for constructing and recording the reader’s literate thinking” (p. 285)……. Hence Bolter can claim that each possible pathway is an “appropriate reading,” and see this as empowering for the reader, a liberation from the linear rigidity of the printed text. In this respect, however, as Rouet and Levonen (1996) suggest, “ideology has often been substituted for scientific investigation” (p. 160) by hypertext theorists. Rather than using what we already know about reading or the mind, “contemporary hypertext thinking,” says Dillon (1996), “seems tied to concepts of association and non-linearity of access even as it distorts them” (p. 27).

Writers are the one create association but the readers take the active role in reading hypertext. Every link that we choose to click is reflecting our thought and identity. Reading a hypertext is not a single-way process, it is a two-way process. How does the agenda of writer affect the reader and also how does the ideology of readers affect them making choice. “The interactivity of hypertext comes up at this point – the individual act of rearranging multiple messages to create a singular, unique statement. I may, therefore, construct my own text, rich in senses, meanings and purposes, which I could learn and use to put up the sense, the meaning and the purpose of the message I am producing. “(Reading hypertext–from global culture to the discourse of individual identity, Luís Manuel Mendes, 2012)

In another study, Critical Perspectives on Visual Imagery in Media and
Cyberculture, the researcher wrote that : ……Hence, I would focus the critical approach on, first, contextualizing all image production in the matrix of its production and reception to help decode its biases, ideologies,and intended effects. Critical approaches have classically been grounded in the political economy of cultural production, analyzing the system of production and distribution, and raising questions of who is producing, promoting, and disseminating the
images in question and for what purposes. So, if one is criticizing a specific website, and if one is interrogating the images and design, one needs to ask if this is a commercial site, if the images are promoting certain products and are a form of advertising, and what values, messages, and ideologies are being communicated by the specific images under scrutiny. If it is a political or informational site, one needs toraise questions concerning the perspectives of those producing the site, their biases,and the actual content of the images and information portrayed.

As far as I have wrote, I want to illustrate that the implication of hypertext and what does it do with ideology and agenda. .But people just can’t realize that we may be controlled by the information given by the Internet and other digital media. We take it for granted. In the book understanding New Media: Extending Marshall McLuhan, Logan wrote that media has its subliminal effect. The fish is unaware of the water in which it swims. It is blind to its environment —its medium.


Reading Hypertext and the Experience of Literature



Reading hypertext–from global culture to the discourse of individual identity



Implications of Hypertext Theory for the Reading, Organization, and Retrieval of Information



Critical Perspectives on Visual Imagery in Media and Cyber culture



ferences :




The secret behind our obsession with Facebook

I have to admit that I am an ADDICTED Facebook user.

Along with the popularity of Facebook, more and more criticism pointed out that Facebook do more bad than good in terms of social relationship.

In Rakesh Narang blog, he even listed Five Most DEADFUL Effect of using Facebook, which includes degrading school performance, higher chance of being fired, being blamed by not shown up on your “Friends” birthday, staying up all night long and exposure of privacy.

These Five Deadful Effects make me think of something I learnt in class. In the class, we learnt that there are two literacies in Social Network Site: Managing connections and Managing identities. I think these two literacies have something to do with the effects.

What else can you say if you find out that you have spent almost 700 million minutes on Facebook per month? It seems that people have prioritized Facebook before studying, working and sleeping in their life.Boredom may be the main reason behind. It is also because we have constructed much of our identity in Facebook. We have been putting up so many photos and status up there, and we are being tagged, also joining different groups, sharing living experience and personal feeling there. We are creating our Facebook Identity. We desperately want to know how many people LIKE and Comment on our photos and status, just like when we have said something in daily life conversation; we are looking forward to the feedback.


It is my Facebook, in the snap shot you can see I have circle some parts. You can see that under the photo there are people “like” my post and people can see what Fans Page I have liked. I don’t think I will post anything if I have nothing in my Friend List. My Friend may also refer to my “like” list and find out something they are interested in.

At the right hand side, there is a bar called Newsfeed. The Textbook has analyzed this feature: …… At first this was a controversial feature among users, making them feel like too much information about their actions was being broadcast to other people. The clever and oddly attractive part of this feature, however, is that it encourages the performative aspect of identity: our own lives and the lives of other become like dramas that are played out before different audience in our social network. Even the network itself, with its changing ties and relationship statuses, takes on a dramatic feel.

I can’t agree more on this, it’s like surveillance in real life what’s your friends are doing now at every second. And I am under the surveillance too, that every body will know immediately what I have done just now.


Groups I joined has told my Friends where do I belong to, in here, I am a graduate in Our Lady of the Rosary College, a group member of Tracey’s Project, a girl that went to ChengChau in 2011. It constructs part of my Identity.



In fans page, people interact with each other with the topic or information they are interested in. More than that, we can share multimedia information on the wall to let public read and watch, that’s why Facebook is an online affinity spaces where people interact to promote a particular shared interest or common goal.

I know not all FB users are mavens, some are connectors, they may forward others’ post and fans page or photos in their page. I have “Like” certain few fans pages because the newsfeed told me that my friend has already liked that fans page. The connectors not only getting me “Like” the fans page, but also let me get acquaintance with somebody that ” you may want to know”.


“Somebody you want to know” usually are people you may already known them in real life, but you are just too shy or too lazy to subscribe their Facebook. After you have sent out your Friend Invitation, you started to have connection with him/her in Facebook, that’s you can “see” him every day whenever you have your smartphone on hand. Or vice versa, people subscribe me because they saw me as mutual friend.
The affordance of Facebook is that you may have a chance to know some people that you don’t have a strong tie with, and once you two become “Friend” in Facebook, you can start to communicate with each other. Connector can spend lots of time on Facebook too, they can spend hours browsing others’ new status update and what’s new in the fan page, and it’s just like reading newspaper or flipping through gossip magazine, and we are the one who devoted our privacy to make entertainment for them. Can you imagine every single comment in your Facebook is revealed to others, it’s the same with using microphone to talk with your friends?

That’s why Facebook provides Friend Segregation; you can choose to conceal something that you don’t want mutual friend and public to know. However, in the textbook, it mentioned that most people will use the default setting of Facebook, that’s allowing maximum amount of information to the maximum amount of people. To secure oneself privacy, you got to do two things: First, reset you Privacy Setting. Second, make sure you know that person who send you a friend request.

It is a Funny video point out that Facebook is an online role play game which is extremely popular in worldwide.


In the video, Somegreybloke has divided the friends into several categories: People I sometime physically see, People I know from various websites who I’ll probably never actually meet, People from the past, like college and university schoolmates and Good looking female group.
I know it is not an official categorization, but it has demonstrates that the two network relationship: Bong and Bridging. And in the video, most of his Friends are with Bridging relationship with him only. Think about your Facebook friend list, how many Friends are real in your life?

Cosmetic Advert is here and there

When I walk into the MTR station, advertisement can be seen on the wall or at the platform and even inside the carriage. From my observation, out of a half advisements are about slimming and cosmetic. Famous TV artist, singer or film stars are in the poster and they have perfect body ship and complexion. While looking at them, it makes me feel bad about myself: Am I look retard? Am I fat? Do I need a facial treatment also?

In the chapter “Information everywhere”, we know that there are too much data available to us nowadays, in order to avoid overloading of data, we need to be clever enough to choose useful data and make it become information and knowledge. However, it is not easy to filter out useless data in a sophisticated city, like Hong Kong, as advertisements are following you anywhere you go.

Advertising is kind of data that confuse people, we don’t come to find advertising, adverts come to find you, and you have no where to hide from them. Adverts are interconnected with media, we see them in the TV, hear them in the radio, receive cold calls, get spam mails in your e-mail box and they are on your Facebook page too. As I have mentioned at the beginning, cosmetic adverts are most prevalent. According to the study by the University of the Basque Country, the respondents who tried the cosmetic products feel good through the perception of ‘caring for oneself’ and removing feelings of worry and guilt about not taking care of one’s appearance. Ironically, to achieve this effect, the brand must first make the consumers have negative feeling about their appearance first. The brands do it subtly in the advertisement, by telling you that how ugly you are. I am going to share you with some advert that was banned and make use of critical literacies to analyze the implication behind advert.


Natalie Portman is used in Miss Dior perfume advert, and also is the mascara advert. Unluckily, the later one is banned in UK, saying that the eyelashes of Natalie Portman is retouched and exaggerated.
Natalie Portman is the main character of Black Swan, and it has something to do that Dior chose her for all new lines product advertising. First, the advertising agency presume that the consumer know her as an elegant and charming film star. Second, they make an intertextual connection between the mascara and Natalie Portman “If you use this, you can have that charming eyes like Natalie!”
Third, the ad boasts “the miracle of a nano brush for an unrivaled lash creator effect. It delivers spectacular volume-multiplying effect, lash by lash”, unrivaled lash creator effect? The word “Creator” somehow is making comparison with other brands, and Dior is the best among them.



It is interesting that even in Asia, mascara advert usually have western model only. I think it is making use of the obsession of western look from Asian.


The advert boasts here is making a sense of scientific. Here, the advert makes a logical connection: DNA research = Product= Beauty. The ideology that DNA research is a professional knowledge is the selling point; furthermore, “it’s your DNA” this create the sense of closeness with the consumer by addressing her/him directly and also the uniqueness of the product.


YouTube is another platform for advertising. If a YouTuber is popular enough, YouTube may send him/her an invitation that they want to insert an advert in the video and the YouTube will pay for the advert. Beauty channel is one of the most popular channels in YouTube and some famous YouTubers have advert in their video and the advert will be shown before the video start.

The Source of the advert come from the brand, and what they are doing is making connection between the YouTuber and the brand, trying to create a sense that the Youtuber like that brand and they use the products from that brand. Another way to promote the brand is that they will send the product to the Blogger and ask them to comment on the product in their sharing. You can see that there are agendas in advertisement through the ideational function of language and image. The brand and the advertising agency want to “implement” their agendas into consumer mind so as to boost the sales.

I know it may be a bit out focus in this entry but I also want to point out the attention exchange relationship between the Blogger/ YouTubers and the brand. According to Micheal Goldhaber, we are living in an attention economy, where value is created from the exchange of attention and what matters is seeking, obtaining and paying attention. The Blogger get attention form the viewer and the attention is sold to the cosmetic brand, this kind of attention exchange is common nowadays as the Blog and YouTube offer a sharing channel which allows ordinary people to get attention from the public. Internet provides us various ways to get attention, but in such situation, it’s not easy to get most of the attention from public and being attended for long, that’s why Micheal Goldhaber said that winner is the one who can get and manage attention.

Making good use of Multimodality

We seldom read something that mono-modal nowadays. Images are inserted into any kind of text in no doubt, for example, textbook, newspaper, academic journal, leaflet, annual reports, storybook, and manual. Hardly can we deny that we are much rely on the image to tell out the implicit meaning of a context than before and our brain also tend to memorize images better than words too. I think many organizations have made good use of interaction between the images and text to give a good impression to the visitors.

“The Invisible Children” has made a success for the campaign KONY 2012. Their aim is to make Joseph Kony become a globally known person and hope some people who have power, like United Nations, Presidents, billionaires, can stop him from producing violence and wars. I remember the first time I know about this campaign is the shared YouTube Video on Facebook. Nearly half of the newsfeeds were about this video around that time.

Clicked into the official website  (http://invisiblechildren.com/kony/), the structure of the site is quite special; it first is like a center-margin layout, then roll down, it’s a top-down layout.

At the top, you can see that the blue bar, at the top left margin there is some links to other information of “The Invisible Children”. And the center, there is the logo of KONY 2012 which is the main focus of the page. In between the photo and the logo, there are some signs that in light grey colour. When you click one of them, you can immediately jump to the part that you want to know about. The blue bar and the signs remain the same places when you continue to scroll down, but not the same with logo. Although all the parts are on the same pages, but there is different background pictures behind each part.

Here, is the picture of which the topic is named as “MOVE”, it’s taken as the same eye level of the visitor. You seem to be one of the followers of KONT 2012, and there is a sun at the far place, I think the sun is the symbol of hope. The Picture is interacting with the viewers, like saying that “Come to join us! Be one of us! Help the children!”

And Below is a short Video about the background the “the Invisible Children”. Why did they choose video as a media to introduce themselves? Not a text? In the video you can see people from the all around the world. The producer wants to show you that we need to work hand in hand so as to achieve peace in the world.

What I mean in top-down layout is that the factual information is put at the bottom and the ideologically foregrounded information at the top. When you read this site, you can realize that they first introduce their belief, then what’s their plan and how to practice their plan, follow by then, it’s about what can we (viewer) do to support them and lastly it provides contact information for the viewer.

For a website, it follows the logic of the screen. So the text in KONY 2012 is short, it aims at assisting the understanding of the video. And the images can give an instant effect more than the text, as you need to read it and understand it, or maybe distracted from it.

Well, how about smartphone?

Here are the screenshots of the KONY 2012 app. By contrast, the app use more words to explain about the campaign. They do have videos too, but the button link to YouTube and they only link to one video. Compared with the site, it is more like page logic, more sequential. It may due to the limitation of the smartphone; it can’t include so much multimedia as the website can.

Though KONY2012 is massively supported by public, there are some people arguing that it’s a state propaganda (The Online column: http://vigilantcitizen.com/vigilantreport/kony-2012-state-propaganda-for-a-new-generation/) .I’m not going to comment on any ethic or political issue here, but their argument which is about the influence of the video is quite logical.

A online columnist criticized the video that:

“Any marketing specialist will tell you: “Facts don’t sell, emotions do”. The first part of KONY 2012 solely addresses emotions. It is about making the filmmaker likeable, showing gut-wrenching images of African kids in pain, in misery and in despair. Then, the turning point: Joseph Kony is the cause of all of this. Not centuries of exploitation and devastation by Western forces in Africa that lead to chaos, lawlessness and poverty. No, it’s Kony. That bastard. George Clooney is really mad at him right now. He even tweeted about it.”

Quoting this paragraph is not going to prove the Skepticism of U.S.. This actually provides us another way to interpret the video. Why some people are touched by the video while others are skeptical about it? It is interesting that the meaning of the images can be differ from peoples who from various background. Here is another quote from the column:

By associating Kony with Bin Laden and Hitler in this poster, KONY 2012 is promoting war.

There is the poster, How will you interpret it ?

Is Hyperlinking a Trap?

It was not until I had the class that I realized how hyperlinking has affected our routine of reading or interpretation of a text.

From the book chapter three, the author mentioned that:

“When we use links in this way they create associations, often implicitly suggesting a relationship between linked texts. If you think about it, the same thing happens when you put two sentences next to each other in print (for example. “He’s been behaving very oddly lately. He’s in love.” Here the second sentence implicitly stands in a relation that could be implied by a link. “And he gave some examples of the relationship between the hyperlink and the content.

What the author wrote here has given me a blink: How should we interpret the meaning of hypertext in different content?  During the class, there was a discussion about the following diagram of association between a few terms:

In this association cycle, I inferred that Lady Gaga was put into the prison because of taking drugs, while she might join a Rockn’ roll Wedding party in the vocation. Different stories came out from other classmates. I think this is a good example which can tells us the power of hyperlinking and the relation between the text and the external source can be inferred by the readers.

A subtle bias is often introduced by the writer through the choice of links, like the example of “Second Life Bans Gambling Following FBI Investigation”. Hypertext is not a thing we can get rid of, what we can do is learning to read critically. According to the educational theorist Nicholas Burbuls (1998), he suggested that we should always ask ourselves these questions:

What associations does the writer make?

What association does the writer not make?

What assumptions do these (non-)association reveal?

The lesson is inspiring, because I am (not only me of course) so used to read hypertext that I seldom think about how the links have shaped our mind. This lesson has reminded me of Marshell Mcluhan saying “Media is the extension of man”. While a new technology extend certain parts of us, they amputate other parts. All tools bring with them different kinds of affordances and constraints. Hyperlink ling is a cool thing that whenever we met something like “Opps, I don’t know what it is!” we can check it out immediately. That’s mean we don’t need to find every single unknowns from the dictionary, newspaper, encyclopedia, textbooks. Take Mathew’s blog as an example:

In Matthew’s blog, he claimed that hyperlink had something to do with plagiarism and he made use of the news which is about the column writer was suspected to copy the other’s work. The phrases or short sentences that are in blue colour are linked to for plagiarism / escaped from a hefty defamation lawsuit /discovered that a large chunk written by Jill Lepore/said they found no evidence he had duplicated information from a number of sources these are all linked to the websites which are relevant to the news. Readers who are not familiar with this topic can click the links for references. They can even compare the two column posts to decide whether plagiarism existed. And they can read about the review from New York Times and CNN to get more information about the writers.

In this part, Matthew pointed out that without citing the original source properly will bring out the problem of stealing ideas from the creator. To support his argument, firstly, he hyperlinked a twit: he said plagiarism. Secondly, he quoted the definition of plagiarism: Plagiarism is defined . Thirdly, he made reference to his previous blog about social media: has exploded thanks to social tools.In the later part of his post, he mentioned about the differences between the traditional media and new media, such as blogs, he also included a few links.

Despite of making use of his blog as an example for the affordances of hyperlink, his thought about the great defense provided by hyperlink is worth to be mentioned here. He wrote “David Weinberger, co-author of the seminal book The Cluetrain Manifesto and a fellow at the Harvard Berkman Center for Internet and Society, argued in a post about the journalistic principle of objectivity that “Objectivity is a trust mechanism you rely on when your medium can’t do links.” In other words, when you have the ability to link to the information that supports your conclusions, it’s easier to get away with being subjective, because readers are able to follow the links and decide for themselves whether you are credible.”

While Nicolas Carr argued that reading hypertext may be compromising our ability to read conventional texts and follow arguments, I partly agree with what Matthew said about the links, as the more we read, the more we know about the truth. At the same time, we should be careful of the link choice, as they may reflect the bias from the writer. We need to learn more about how digital media work and how to organize data, so that the most useful data will become information and turn into knowledge. I think it’s the same thing with hyperlinks, we can’t avoid it but we can read and think critically so as to be an objective media user.

Matthew’s blog : http://gigaom.com/2012/08/20/plagiarism-defamation-and-the-power-of-hyperlinks/