As the digital world is increasingly developing, interactivity is playing a much larger role in how people communicate and use technological platforms. This paper focused on interactivity and the emotions, behaviors, and expectations that can lead interactivity to be an undefined, subjective experience. Interactivity is oftentimes a concept that is disputed amongst researchers, for there is no concrete definition as to what it entails. It requires an active audience and one’s perception of interactivity can change based on the platform, communication technology, and based on whom the user is interacting. What’s important to explore when discussing the concept of interactivity is how the medium and the user can both impact one’s perception of interactivity. Unlike some other effects of communication technologies such as modality or technological innovations, interactivity is a subjective experience that differs across devices, mediums, and users. It would be a mistake to define interactivity and confine the term to one definition, for one’s perception of interactivity can change based on the platform, communication technology, and based on whom the user is interacting.
I wanted to explore this concept further using both the articles discussed in class as well as some outside sources because I found it interesting how subjective the concept could be. Prior to taking this class, I thought I knew what interactivity was, essentially how interactive a platform is. The more I learned about the concept and the more I researched different journal articles, I questioned my original idea of interactivity in addition to what interactivity really means. In this paper, I also discussed research from Jennifer Heesen’s Computer and Information Ethics which explored how humans can shape the interactivity of communication technology through their use and interactions with that technology. She states that a human’s interactiveness with technology is “a decisive technical prerequisite for the implementation of virtual environments and experiences within the scope of an individual reality.” Interestingly, users also have the power to enhance and help advance communication technologies by participating in the existing interactions on technological platforms.