Beyond mud: The network's influence,

It is often said that we live in a media-dominated society. Currently, 'media' is predominately television, but also bound books, whose structural model is one of central authorship and strict linear flow. These do not have to be the dominant media, however, and this does not have to be the prevailing model. MUD represents a technology that is available now, that challenges preconceptions of media and social form. MUDers, some of whom have already crossed over into this medium, are now filling their previous television-watching and book-reading time hypertext-ing in cyberspace. If the networking technology and knowledge were more widely available, perhaps we would already see a mass movement to join those addicted to the new language experience. "Among experienced participants in computerized conferences there emerges a strong urge to check in several times a day to receive any waiting messages and to see what is happening in various conferences" (Hiltz, 103). If such a movement began, soon people would find their lives more closely resembling MUDs than television: rather than modeling physical appearance on visions of supermodels gracing tv and magazine advertisements, people would be searching the world- wide web of cyberspace to find clothing and other items that are distinctly their own; rather than joking about the latest celebrity scandal, people would hone in on the latest jokes within their circle of well-matched, online friends; perhaps at some point, "The ideal of stability and cohesion (would) largely disappear. Few (would) feel the need to assert such cohesion, since even the smallest group of writers and readers can function happily in its niche in the electronic network" (Bolter, 238).