The network advances. Its rules take shape. The hypertext hierarchy is built up little by little, just like the links one establishes when surfing the Internet.
"The term 'hypertext' was
suggested in 1965 by Ted Nelson to describe documents that revealed the
non-linear structure of ideas. Applied to a library of files, the
hypertext technique consists in chaining these files together by a
non-sequential fabric of connections. These links thus enable the user
to navigate among widely-varied subjects without keeping an account of
the order in which they were arranged.
The links can be established both by the authors of the hypertext
documents as well as by the user, depending on the subject of the
document. Consequently, the
hypertext, mainly in its interactive form where the choices are dictated
by the user, tends to offer a working and learning environment as close
as possible to the human way of thinking."[i]
To make a purchase in a traditional way, there is only one way to go: take the road that leads to the store, then go to the floor and the counter which have the product you want to buy, and queue up to pay for it. The hierarchy of these choices involves you in a logic which you can only leave by going out the way you came in. This is the market place in physical space. On the Internet market place, you have multiple points of entry. You can seek the product directly, choosing the cities or the streets where it is sold; you can compare prices, pay for the product by a click of your mouse, without queuing up, and have it delivered without leaving your desk.
The traditional hierarchy took the road of physical added value, that of the market place. The hypertext hierarchy follows the virtual links of the market space . A private individual looking to invest some money goes to see his banker. If the product offered does not suit him, he will have to
beat a courteous retreat and go to another bank. Today, thanks to his favourite search engine on the Internet, he can find and leaf through the best investment sites, analyse their performances by consulting the files of specialised magazines, and, via a safe-payment module, buy the investment plan that gives the best results.
[i] Encyclopédie® Microsoft ® Encarta 1998