Most egregiously—and surprisingly, for someone with a considerable background in philosophy—Taylor fails to distinguish adequately between forms of communication and forms of knowledge. Do hypertext, multi-media, and social networking affect the way we know things? Of course. But the ways in which they do depend on the objects of knowledge themselves. On its own, the technology signifies nothing. And while communication can take place in any direction along myriad pathways, the acquisition of real knowledge cannot. It demands sequence, it demands order, it demands logic. The new technologies have supplemented conventional forms of learning and argumentation in fascinating ways, but they cannot replace them.It's amazing how often it seems to happen that way, isn't it? Stupid, stubborn, awesome words on a page.
Taylor, however, is so enraptured by his networks that he loses sight of these important realities. Near the end of his book, he positively swoons: “No longer constrained by words in black-and-white, ordered in straight lines and right angles, you become free to reconfigure words with any color, image or sound in designed texts that can be layered and even set in motion.” Yes, we can do this, but for what purpose? Just for the sake of doing it? It is worth noting that despite the supposed superiority of new media to the boring old written word, Taylor himself has chosen the most traditional of forms—“words in black and white, ordered in straight lines and right angles”—to put across his own ideas.
So read the whole thing.