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Software archive at WRT: Writer Response Theory

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Much has been made of the viral outbreak of Michael Wesch’s “Web 2.0…The Machine is Us/ing Us” (first noticed on Frank Gruber’s Somewhat Frank) Some of the reactions, including my initial one, have suggested that the piece is overly optimistic. However, we should not let the pulsing soundtrack, speed, and magically moving text and images distract us to miss his playfulness with these ideas, a montage of reactions to the notion of Web 2.0 more than a manifesto for it. Matt Kirschenbaum has commented on one of these moments, the use of the WayBack Machine. Below is a further analysis (or annotation) of the first 26 seconds or so of the film:


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[This post offers context for a work-in-progress entitled “Marginalia in the Library of Babel.” alpha release.]

Let us write stories in the margins of the Web:

The web is becoming ours to write with. Whether supplying, ranking, or reviewing its contents or reordering the web with our folksonomic tagclouds, we are becoming the owners of more than just our Craig’s list and Ebay possessions. We are orchestrating this web and making of it what we will. Jeremy and Matt Kirschenbaum have reported on the moments when the tagclouds become art (see inset image made via TagCrowd.com). And now the web pages themselves have become our surfaces, our building blocks. Here’s

Snap Preview Art


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A new service that is spreading across cyberspace like wildfire (I’ve got it on my other blog!) is Snap Preview Anywhere. Created by IdeaLab (a company that just come up with ideas all day and implement them!), is a service that when a user hovers over a link, provides a preview of the target page. […]


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From the 3rd Congress of the Cybersociety comes: The wikinovela

If wikis are a definitive collaborative technology, what happens when a group tries to write a multilingual novel using the form?

[What follows is a commentary on the project involving a bit of translating and paraphrasing of the conference essay “Wikinovela: a project of hypertextual, collaborative, and multilingual creation on the Internet” by Patricia Fernandez Carrelo and Santiago Perez Isasi.]

Produced by the Faculty of Philosophy and Arts of University of Deusto (Bilbao, Spain) under a Creative Commons license, Wikinovela began April 24, 2006 and eneded July 24, 2006. Over the course of the three-months, the collaborators produced a work that stretches across languages: Castilian, euskara (Basque), and English. That is not to say that the work has been translated, but that distinct parts of Wikinovela appear in each language.

Participants could modify the text of others, continue any of the on-going storylines, create new plots (or “hypertextual ramifications” of a plot), or add metanarrative commentaries.


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On the Polyphonic Method
A couple of months ago Micheal Benton approached us at Writer Response Theory to participate in the Reconstructions issue on blogging. We’re Really Thrilled about the idea — who wouldn’t want to blog about blogging?! But when the time came to write, we three researchers kept weaving in and out of approaches. Should we have a single voice? That is always a good approach, but a collaborative document isn’t written with a single voice in the first draft. It begins as a mixture of voices that synergise and become one (either with poetic ease or a crow-bar). We haven’t reached that chorus point yet. Don’t know if we ever will. And, to be frank, we like the idea of pulling back the curtain and revealing what a collaborative-text-in-formation looks like. Indeed, it is emblematic of our collaborative blogging at WRT.

So, why do we blog…together?






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