I’m sure she meant it as a compliment. I certainly took it as a compliment, too. I mean, I studied analytic philosophy. Linear arguments are kind of our stock in trade.
The more time I spend on the web, though, the less sure I am that linear is a compliment. The internet—the hyperlink—enables forms of writing that just aren’t practical on the printed page. The internet is unbounded. Decentered. The death of the author writ large. It moves the nonlinear essay out of the realm of stuffy academic discourse and onto the tiny pocket computers we all carry around.
I’ll confess that I’m a pretty linear thinker. I come by it honestly, having spent a bit over a decade studying and then practicing a pretty hardcore version of analytic philosophy.