Michael A. Xenos

in Communication

ISBN: 9780199756841
Published online February 2011 | | DOI:


Most everyday users understand interactivity as the extent to which a communication medium enables responses (typically immediate) to user input. This can come in many forms, such as in an interpersonal exchange (for example, chat), or a change in digital content (as when one comments on a blog post and thus changes the content of the website). Indeed, as the section Conceptualization illustrates, scholars continue to argue over the precise definition, forms, and functions of interactivity. For many, the potentials for interactivity represent the most significant aspects of the revolutionary changes that technological development has brought to human communication in recent years. Whereas other aspects of digital media merely alter the cost structure of familiar communication forms (for example, making one-to-one and one-to-many forms of communication faster and cheaper), as Cover 2006 points out interactivity fundamentally challenges traditional understandings of the very nature of mediated communication. Due to the relatively short history of interactive communication forms, and the nature of interactivity (as a subdimension of the much larger topic of digital media in general), significant works that address this topic directly most often appear as papers and journal articles. Nevertheless, this body of literature is vibrant, containing various strands. Some deal with cross-cutting issues that relate to a variety of conceptual and theoretical questions dealing with interactivity. These are covered in sections devoted to Conceptualization, Theory, Method, Cognitive and Affective Engagement, and Youth. In addition to these, one may also find research on interactivity in specific contexts. Research on these more specific topics is discussed in sections on Advertising, Marketing, and Corporate Communication, Journalism, News Consumption, and Politics.

Article.  5934 words. 

Subjects: Communication Studies

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribeRecommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »