Within this essay I will explore the theme of Interactivity, Within the essay I will present key definitions and a few academic articles that I have read on the topic in order to gain a full understanding of the effect this has had on new media and traditional media as well as what those differences are. Continuing on from this, I will present my analysis of a case study that shows theory's that detail how consumers are interactive with social media, and how this effects businesses, how they are changing to appeal to other audiences. And finally I will conclude my essay by summarising the key points discussed throughout as well as considering what the implications of the article are and what they tell us about Interactivity.
Interactivity follows the notion of communication. Communication that occurs between two people (user-to-user), between a person and what they are doing on a media platform (user-to-documents) and what the relation the consumer is having with the device (user-to-computer/system) (Szuprowicz (1995)). An \'interactive\' media platform is usually one in which the user can engage or control what the media platform gives back to the user, for example, social media websites are interactive as they use graphics to entice users into uploading images or a \'status\' or \'tweet\' to the site, similarly, video games are interactive as what the user puts into the game- what commands they issue through the controller, depends on what the outcome is to the user. After looking at an Academic article published on \'The Guardian\', I understand more about the perks of social media being used for scholars when publishing reports and keeping the longevity of the reports. Researchers also looked into certain types of social media and they noticed that some are more interactive than others. For example \'Pinterest\' can be used to filter the users search into something that is more specific to the users wants and needs, they interact with the media to get the results that they want. Scholars have also found that people, although generally savvy with the internet, can not or do not know how to reach articles that have been written by scholars containing certain topics that they may be interested in. In my opinion this shows that there is a limit to how much interaction there is between user and device as they are often unable to find what they need/ want, perhaps through the inability to correctly search for what they want. Furthermore, the scholar also referred to the security of the internet, and knowing that if they published their articles on any research that included interactivity, anyone would be able to access it and potentially misuse the information as well as having their work in cyberspace forever, unable to truly get it taken off. This again poses the barrier that occurs within interactivity in the media between both user-to-documents and user-to-computer.
I researched a case study where a number of popular brands branched out to the previously mentioned social media site \'Pinterest\' where users can \'PIN\' their interests on a board of all of their combined likes. These companies that got involved with this study included \'Etsy\', known for their crafty DIY life hacks and how to incorporate them into your daily life. By branching out to Pinterest, they could look for those people who had specifically been looking for DIY type hacks, then incorporating a few advertisements every so often, those that their audience would be interested in in order to gain more publicity for their own \'Pins\' and pages on other networking sites. By branching out and being a part of this audiences life, they have somewhat humanised the company, creating an interactive relationship between user and computer, but they have also created a new type of connection that has not been mentioned, one that is between user and supplier. This interactivity has been forged through trust and reliability of the company. Once consumers begin to realise that this company is \'here to stay\' they begin to trust their proposed ideas, trust both sites more and they have formed a connection with the sites that is enforcing the loyalty of the consumer through this trust. Furthermore, another company also had similar findings, \'Perpetual Kids\'- a company targeting our inner child, had consumers visiting through organic means, they started off with adverts that were targeted towards the \'relevant visitors\' so that they would spread the word of the unique objects that captured the attention of many. With these consumers \'pinning\' their products, they in themselves created their own niche as they had followers who looked at their boards who then added to their own and so on. This relates closely to what Bordewijk and Kaam details about the communication patters between humans and social media; there are 4 types of communication: Transmission, conversation, consultation and registration. Two of these are produced by the consumer. so the consumer for instance has registered for the social media site where they then browse, gain their key interests and begin to have \'conversations with one another, either through the site, where they are to some extent, communicating user-to-computer, as they are typing into the media platform and getting a reaction from it/ the other person which could also be considered user-to-user. By using these forms of communication, the consumers are controlling how much interaction is taking place between other consumers and themselves of social media accounts, they are getting the reaction and are the reason for the success of the platforms. The last two forms of communication however are provided by the company, they have controlled how the consumer has/ will react to the media platform or type of media. However, some of these do intersect, transmission and registration are distributed by a company, however the information produced is controlled by the company and consumer respectively. Similarly do consultation and conversation intersect, they are both distributed by the consumer, and again the information gained / received is controlled by the company and consumer respectively.
In conclusion, the interactivity that occurs within social media differs depending on what social media websites are being used. Not every site is as interactive as the other, some are solely controlled by the consumer, and some are evenly controlled by the provider and consumer, where in this instance the consumer does not have full control over the content. From the articles, I found that there are still some mixed reviews over how well the internet and social media sites are controlled by the consumers. Scholars are reluctant to publish due to deceit at times and some consumers do not know how to access something they may need or want, therefore not all of their needs and wants are being met from the providers. They are not being able to interact with the platform of the internet to its fullest capacity where they can simply ask and receive. However, some have branched out to work in partnership with the social media sites in order to expand their audiences and target people with the intent of making their work more popular. This also applies to the businesses who use media sites to gain business and establish connections with the consumers. not all social media sites work the same, nor are they the same from many years ago, scholars find difficulty in trust due to the distribution methods of their work, they don\'t have any security over the legitimacy of the consumers, where using old media, the articles would be found on intent, showing the legitimacy from the deceit.
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Szuprowicz, B. O. 1995. Multimedia Networking. New York: McGraw-Hill, Inc.
Jensen, J. F. 1998. ‘Interactivity'. Tracking a New Concept in Media and Communication Studies. Nordicom Review, 1/1998, pp. 185-204
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