. . . but I wrote this wikipedia article about webtext, which is especially cool because it’s a webtext on webtext. How meta.
I’m amazed by how delighted I find myself at finding my own work ‘out there’ on the Web, even without a byline, and open to the hands and eyes of anonymous editors across the world. I owe a debt of gratitude to the editors at Kairos, where I intern as a graduate student, who asked me to put my language sleuthing skills to good use.
The article was published in the spring of 2011, and as of May 1, my original text stands. Of course, I can’t make any claims that it will continue to stand, especially as wikipedia has invited edits to ‘improve’ and ‘wikify’ the text. Seeing those automated critiques is a little like getting my disappointing GRE writing scores: a moment of dark resentment, followed by a shrug and a return to the massive amounts of quality written work I churn out on a daily basis.
Just goes to show you that text, even and perhaps especially webtext, is subject to a variety of contexts and pretexts; it will be differently textured for different audiences and circumstances. But its structure and its history — the way the writing system works and how it got that way — remain consistent from one readership to another.
As text, the Web, and webtext alike weave together different strands of the world of ideas, it is the orthography itself, the way the text structures meaning and makes sense, that stitches together the consistent threads of meaning in a vast network of diverse situations and diverse readers.
And I’m not just stringing you along.
© Gina Cooke and LEX: Linguist-Educator Exchange, 2011