Example of Hard Coded Hyphenation Using Soft Hyphens. Resize window to see text reflow with hyphenation preserved. Zooming larger or smaller will also reflow the text.
Excerpt is from Revising Prose, by Richard Lanham.
With the electronic word, authority diffuses itself between writer and reader. Although we seldom think of it in this way, the print medium is fundamentally authoritarian. “In print” means unchangeable. You can't quarrel with it. This penumbra of authority goes back a long way. The Renaissance humanists resurrected the authority of classical Greek and Latin culture by editing that culture’s documents into fixed printed texts. The authoritative edition means the unchanging edition, text fixed forever, a lodestone of cultural authority. We still feel that way about print. It fixes things.
Electronic text unfixes them. It is by nature changeable, anti-authoritarian. If we don't like what it says, we can change it, ornament it, revise it, erase it, mock it in letters indistinguishable from the original ones. Patterns of authority have shifted, become democratized. This democratization means that the electronic word will mean something quite different from the printed one. Anyone interested in writing of any sort must understand this change.
It operates, for a start, upon the role the writer adopts as a writer. When we write we inevitably adopt a social role of some sort. A presentation of self. Surely all of us have noticed that the self we adopt in computer communication, especially online and, to a lesser degree in e-mail, differs from our "print" self. For reasons I leave to the psychologists, computers have from their beginnings evoked the game and play ranges of human motivation far more strongly than print has. “Hacker”, before it became a synonym for computer vandal, used to be an innocent word, used to describe kids who liked to play around with computers just for the fun of it, to do something just to see if it could be done. This original hacker mentality inevitably creeps in whenever we put our fingers on the computer's home row: We hold language more lightly in our hands; our sense of humor stands closer; we can’t take things, or ourselves, so seriously.
A good predisposition this turns out to be. The "dignity of print" has a lot to answer for. Let's hope that the electronic word preserves the muse of comedy that has hovered around its creation. Blog prose seems to suggest that it has. At all events, it is something to be alert to if you are writing and revising prose in an electronic world. It has created a new communications decorum.