NET GAINS; The write stuff

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The Independent Culture
www.pulpfact.demon.co.uk/babylondon

The Internet's growth has shot off in all kinds of directions that nobody really predicted. The advent of web browsers, for example, was what allowed areas such as online bookshops to become major cultural phenomena.

Ironically enough, however, writers have never really managed to get to grips with the medium. No writer has yet been discovered by publishing something on the Internet. One of the reasons seems to be simply that publishers don't really have the time and energy to surf around, looking for new stars. And perhaps the traditional routes into publishing, via agents and slush piles seem to be effective enough.

There have been attempts in the past to create electronic slush piles. Writers submitted their stories, and if people liked a particular piece, they would vote for it and it would filter up through the pile. But the idea never caught on.

One of the latest attempts is hyperfiction, where the narrative, rather than proceed in a linear fashion, operates more like the Internet. Babylondon, for example, is a collaborative attempt by four writers to use hypertext, where you can highlight certain words and phrases to find out more about that particular subject. The result is intriguing if only partially successful.

Job site

www.careerzone-uk.com

Finding jobs over the Internet is becoming easier although there's still not a huge variety on offer. Applications are commonly submitted by email and the like. One of the better ones is Careerzone. Like the best of these sites it acts as a kind of gateway to other sites; everything from science to media careers, and it also has a bookshop, features section and a a careers clinic which offers professional careers advice. Like many of the smaller Internet sites at the moment, it's in danger of being strangled by larger organisations. However, according to its founder, David Denny, it is still attracting about 6,000 hits a month. It's also looking for a sponsor, and is certainly worth a look.

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