- The Algorithmization of the Hyperlink
- Computational Culture
- Number of pages
- Document type
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA)
This study looks at the history of the hyperlink from a medium-specific perspective by analyzing
the technical reconfiguration of the hyperlink by engines and platforms over time. Hyperlinks
may be seen as having different roles belonging to specific periods, including the role of the
hyperlink as a unit of navigation, a relationship marker, a reputation indicator and a currency of
the web. The question here is how web devices have contributed to constituting these roles and
how social media platforms have advanced the hyperlink from a navigational device into a datarich
analytical device. By following how hyperlinks have been handled by search engines and
social media platforms, and in their turn have adapted to this treatment, this study traces the
emergence of new link types and related linking practices. The focus is on the relations between
hyperlinks, users, engines and platforms as mediated through software and in particular the
process of the algorithmization of the hyperlink through short URLs by social media platforms.
The important role these platforms play in the automation of hyperlinks through platform
features and in the reconfiguration of the link as database call is illustrated in a case study on link
sharing on Twitter.
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