And there are millions of them! What makes them different from ordinary pages is that they are connected together by links. When you select a link you go from one page to another. And one page can be linked to any other page on the Web and can have any number of links. This creates not a list of pages in a certain order, like in a book, but a web of pages. Thus the name.
To find your way among all these pages requires a search engine and good word of mouth. But the links themselves work as a kind of word of mouth – a fact that Google takes full advantage of.
The Web was invented by Tim Berners-Lee, one of the great computer geniuses. It went public in 1992 but was little known till about 1994 when the Internet burst upon the public.
Content: A web page can have words, pictures, sounds, music, video, computer programs and so on. And, of course, links. A link can be anything visible on the page, such as a picture, but in most cases it is a set of words. A good link gives some idea of what is on the other side: “Tyra Banks pictures”, “The latest news”, “The mystery of the ages solved” (yes, I saw a link like that once).
Reading style: Very few will sit and read a page for long. Most read a few words here and there on the page – a hundred or two at most – and then be off going down another link. Only if the page has just what they were looking for or somehow holds their interest (by its humour, wit or something surprising) will they remain.
Structure: Little of it. The Web is not structured like a love story: it is more like a the Sears catalogue with pages mixed up and falling out.
The good and the bad: Unlike the codex, the Web is bad at long, carefully reasoned argument. You know, rational thought. It is not even good for telling stories, like the scroll or the television. But when it comes to finding out about something quickly or about something you know little of, it is unmatched. Where else are you going to find out what goes through the head of a schoolgirl in Singapore?
But what you find may not be true!! Anyone can write anything they want. And, if you are serious about a subject, you will soon find that in most cases the Web does not run deep. You will find yourself reading the same six facts over and over again.
– Abagond, 2006.