About Hypermedia

The Purpose Driven Web is a book project intended to commemorate the 20th Anniversary of the World Wide Web, August 6, 2011.  The essential coding of the Web was completed toward the end of 1990, but the key moment of its introduction was Tim Berners-Lee’s announcement on Usenet the following summer.

The original title of this project was “The Three Hypes of Hypermedia.” That title showcases the central argument that the Web is evolving in stages.

The user experiences of the 1990s were characterized by Hyper-linking. As people learned to work with links and URLs, the notion of “surfing” the Web became familiar.

The user experiences of the 2000s were characterized by Hyper-mixing. As platform architectures matured, it became easy to mix content from diverse sources within pages and streams.

The most significant user experiences of the 2010s will be characterized by Hyper-sourcing. As the emphasis on the verification of authorship becomes ever more prominent, “transparency” will become typical, and people who find themselves living in metaphoric glass houses will be forced to reconsider the virtue of throwing stones.

The course of this evolution was largely a result of technical compromises that Tim Berners-Lee made when he launched the Web. Berners-Lee intentionally took shortcuts, leaving out several features that at the core of Ted Nelson’s initial proposal for hypertext. Berners-Lee presumed later “evolution” would fill in the gaps. We are now finally seeing the full implications of hypermedia’s evolution fleshed out.

This book will retrace that history, from the precursors of the Internet and the Web, through the rise of Social Media.

The author, Craig Simon, earned his Ph.D. in International Studies from the University of Miami. He has written extensively on topics such as the Internet standards-making process, and about rule-making in human society.