Interactivity: Sticking to the Old or Bringing in the New

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We as a society spend time every day interacting with our phones, social media, websites, gaming, and Apps. We become addicted to the interactivity of these types of media. Our usage of them only helps them advance and improve so that we will continue to interact. But how do we define “interactivity” as a term?

What is Interactivity?

Interactivity seems to be a product of digital media. It is how we interact and communicate online. Whether that be with other people, websites, interactive ads, or liking someone’s post on social media we are interacting and communicating through digital media. As mentioned in Digital Rhetoric: Theory, Method, Practice, Warnick describes interactivity as:

“an attribute of technological functions of the medium, such as hyperlinking, activating media downloads, filling in feedback forms, and playing online games” (69) and user-to-user or text-to-user interaction.” (Eyman pg. 32)

Interactivity can also be defined as communication that is reciprocated in some way or form occurring between people, organizations, and even texts. This input and output are what describe interactive functions that make up interactivity within a digital space.

Traditional vs. New Media

Within this week’s text, Eyman questions Warnick’s statement that system user interactivity,

“emphasizes forms of interactivity insofar as they function as
communication rather than as technologically enabled” (75)” (Eyman pg.33)

I feel that I can agree with Eyman’s discontent with her limitations. Solely fixating on the traditional interactivity of media is assuming that there will not or even are not other ways of interactivity than what we already are aware of. I think of this whole production of AI that is rapidly expanding. There are plans to use voice control to navigate websites using AI. For example, ordering food off of Instacart would only take you verbally reading off what you would like to be added to your cart and it will be placed there and ordered for you. I am aware that there are many applications looking to advance their interactivity of software to use voice which would be very interesting. But, even just with that information, I feel that there are so many more possibilities for interactivity in this age of new media.

So I stand with Eyman. I think there is much more capability in terms of interactivity online. We should then shift our focus and use the old to learn more about the new and forthcoming. I think it is interesting to see this unfold in front of our very eyes but it does hold potential danger.


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