The Sense of Interactivity




Kailyn Kennedy

Within reading the short section of “Defining and Locating Digital Rhetoric” by Douglas Eyman explains his theory of interactivity along with other Warnick’s point of view too. As we learned before, the term “interactive” allows a user to act or input information. You can change the nature of something which can make it interactive. However, Eyman and Warnick show how interactivity has a similar concept but a little different.


Warnick explains interactivity as “an attribute of technological functions of the medium, such as hyperlinking, activating media downloads, filling in feedback forms, and playing online games” (pg 32). He defines interactivity as “communication that includes some form of reciprocal message” (pg 32). This highlights how most of these things listed can be categorized with new media objects and how the world is shifting from old media to new.


When you read with a book, you interact with it in your brain, but this is not the case for new media. Therefore, you can interact with the book and the text, but it does not interact back with you. Another example would be Lego blocks where you buy a set and it gives you clear instructions on how to build the set. In this case, you do not change the blocks, you create things making it not interactive.

Why Traditional Methods of Analyzing Interactivity Don’t Work With New Media

An example of interactivity would be when someone can comment under other people’s Instagram posts regardless of whether it is a video, picture, or text. In addition, they can also like and share this post even if they do not “own” the post. Social media is a great example of interactivity with the new media because it allows you to connect with others worldwide and within the social media app, you can interact in many ways. Traditional methods of this would not work with the new media because for example, a book is something that people no longer interact with.


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