FRAGMENTING READERSHIP

Ironically, with all these opportunities for the reader to CONTROL THE ORDER and EXPLORE VARIOUS VOICES in hypertexts, readers end up further away, rather than closer to these texts, and in some ways each other. Since the infinite writing space cannot be fully consumed, a computer-reader's mentality is geared toward extracting the information specific to individual needs. This shifts focus of writing from author-centered to reader-centered. People reading a hypertext never have an overall shared experience. Players of MUDs, unlike readers of a bound book, each have unique experiences.

The structure of community suggested by hypertexts is not one valorizing and providing common, shared experiences, but celebrating individuality and expressing very separate identities in a common medium. No longer is the author lord of the text kingdom. In hypertexts, readers are free and encouraged to read only what interests them. Instead of appointing the author as a representative to explore 'databases' of available information and report back, readers now represent themselves in these vast databases, compiling their own personal and unique books.