How do the affordances of a networked media culture (hyperlinks, multimedia, sharing etc.) enhance online communication?

Networked media culture such as hyperlinks can enhance online communication through its convenient connection to diversify content on the Web. According to Wood & Smith (2004), hyperlink refers to the connection point from a webpage to a target, which may be another web page, or a different position on the same webpage such as a picture, email address, document or even an application. Within online communication, hyperlinks can not only enlarge the discussion topic content but also provide the audience a more convenient way of communication. For audience, they can follow the direction of hyperlinks to extend relevant or background information about the readings.



The report The Future Queen (and Her Brothers) is a typical report providing hyperlinks within the report to explore the relevant content. For audiences, through clicking the hyperlink of the words glorified studhorse, they can learn the relevant information of Prince William and his wedding. For those audiences who are not familiar with the background of the prince marriage, they would hardly understand the relationship that identified in the report. Through clicking the hyperlinks which characters are in the blue colour, readers can be linked to another webpage with other information related to the hyper-linking word. Therefore, hyperlinks within the report play the role as a resource of background information and extended knowledge to help the audience understanding the report.


Through simply clicking the hyperlinks, web users can explore their communication on a specific object in a more convenient way. For example, through clicking the product name Memorex 4.7 GB DVD+RW, more detailed information of the product including type, production and price would be listed on the other webpage. Consequently, without another search for such information, people can finish the communication of the product in a convenient way within a short period of time of hyperlink clicking. For consumers, they would like to know more information about Memorex 4.7 GB DVD+RW. However, there are so many choices on the website that it is impossible to provide every detail of the product on the same page. Therefore, the hyperlinks on the first page can provide audience the choice the content they want to read. Especially when different customers would focus on different aspect of the product, they do not need to read all information of the product. Instead, they can choose to click the hyperlinks they are interested in.


Wood, A. F., & Smith, M. J. (2004). Online Communication: Linking Technology, Identity, & Culture. Routledge.



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