Literacy Online calls hyperlinks "the computer's capacity to create such fluid textual structures and present them interactively to the reader," and continues:
The computer as hypertext constitutes a new writing space with qualities unlike those of the previous spaces of handwriting and printing. No longer ancillary to printing, the computer as hypertext earns a distinct place in the history of writing. The shift from printed book to electronic hypertext becomes a watershed as important as the shift from manuscript to print in the fifteenth century.
And although I will bemoan the e-book's eventual corrosion of bound books, I will grant the authors this:
Hypertext calls for a redefinition of the book ... A printed book is an artifact that you can hold in your hand; it is a sequence of pages bound between two covers. Physically and metaphorically, a printed book claims to cover a subject. But in fact no book is complete in itself. Any book contains echoes, references, and often direct quotations, from other books.
And that is why the fluid format of the Web, and weblogs in particular, contain a nugget of promise.