NON-CONFORMITY

When reading a book, readers must follow the path of the author, and when in daily social interactions, those same readers tend to conform to narrow bounds of speech and actions. "One of the most important of the potentially dysfunctional aspects of face-to- face group problem solving is the tremendous pressure oN participants to conform" (Hiltz, 106). In the hypertextual world of MUD, where players control the imaginative space, those same players also flaunt their differences. Visitors to cyberspace describe how surprised they are at the diversity of voices in MUDs. "Another memorable aspect of online conviviality was learning just how wide is the spectrum of human experience. In our schools and media we are led to believe that the range of human behavior is relatively narrow; true deviance is the purview of criminals and crazy people. No. Online, I discovered that the range is virtually a universe wide" (Jacobson, 331).

Muds better accomodate a wide range of voice

than conventional books and media. On MUD, there is no cultural norm. Since characters can 'be' whatever they can imagine and describe, everyone is a minority of one. The focus of the textual environment is to fashion a distinctive self and rehearse it in cyberspace.