Task 7 – Interactivity NOW

In the recent two articles that I read about interactivity and the definition of it – Kiousis, S. (2002) Interactivity: a concept explication. New Media & Society, SAGE Publications, Vol 4(3):355–383 and Jensen, J.F. (1998). Interactivity: tracking a new concept in media and communication studies. Nordicom Review, 19(1), 185-204 – interactivity, as a whole process has changed a lot. Since I have worked with a lot of conventional media, concerning advertising and such, I have always seen interactivity as a part of them also. The first article by Jensen strongly suggests that interactivity should be looked at through the eyes of sociologists and psychologists. And what is missing in my eyes is that interaction can also be manifested while communicating with a computer. The same applies to conventional media. People viewing advertisements on TV or on a poster, do also interact with the medium. They might not be able to change the state of the medium but they can change for example their attitudes towards the message.

During the last decade, interaction has evolved, not so much changed. The ways of interacting through technology have also changed the way that we see our surroundings, our culture, the world. In some views interaction remains only there, where something can be altered or where someone/something provides you with a visible or audible response.

These points aside, interaction concerning the advances in the technological world have put us in a situation where we have certain expectations towards communicating with each other and with the cultural network. First and foremost, we have overcome the obstacles of locating the partner for interaction. In the early 2000s there were chatrooms and messaging systems that enabled us to interact with people via the computer. But the opportunity of connecting with someone outside of that current medium (chatroom, friends list) was somewhat complicated. Nowadays with the advanced media, we are able to instantly locate and interact, not only with a person on the other side of the world, of who we did not know anything about a couple of moments ago, but also interact with a whole (massive) group at the same time. Interaction is now more community rather than peer based.

Technology has also brought to masses, the possibility to not only text or e-mail through the computer, but also to have vast communication/interaction mediums like second life and massive multiplayer games. The opportunity of video chat via different devices is also a big step that we were able to see only in the movies (except for some lucky individuals).

To come back to my first point that interaction is still in all of media, I do hope that it will not be used only to describe the communication between human and machine or communication mediated by a device. I see interaction in everything that we do or see. It alters our behavior and  way of perception. Interaction should not be only computer and technology based, although that is what we perceive and aknowledge the most.


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