Home > COM530 > Interactivity and Audience- Power to the people!

Interactivity and Audience- Power to the people!

Wordle: Interactivity

Wordle: Audience

What is the best definition for “Interactivity“? Graduate students studying interactive media at Elon University took on the challenge today as a class project. Let’s look at the results.

I thought a Wordle of the words used for their definitions would be a good way to analyze their input. Click on the ‘Interactivity’ Wordle above and have a look at the intensity of words taken from 6 different definitions written collaboratively by 37 students.

Of course ‘interactivity’ has the most dominance because it appeared (intentionally) six times, one for each definition. Take a look at the rank of the second largest word in the wordle, meaning it consistently appeared in the students’ definitions: CONTROL!

Is this the word you thought would be the most dominant in helping to describe interactivity? I’m betting, like me, that you were thinking more along the lines of ‘two-way’ or ‘feedback’ or ‘communication’ all of which appear and are moderately important but still subservient to ‘control‘. Are we as co-responding, senders and receivers becoming more interactive in our social media, in our blogs and on our web because we like the control? Or is the new media, by its nature, allowing more control?

“We shape our tools and then our tools shape us.” Marshall McLuhan.

It seems like ‘control’ can be a good thing and not so good depending on the intention. Is it time to re-define ‘interactivity’ or is it re-defining itself without us?

The AUDIENCE wordle is the results of the same group of students who were asked to provide a better, more modern term for the word ‘audience.’ It looks like ‘participants‘ is the clear winner here. Note that ‘users‘ and ‘contributors‘ get honorable mention. Would these be the most frequently suggested words just a few years ago before we were so futuristically wired, before we had tools for more control–excuse me, I mean more interactivity? I don’t think so.

Categories: COM530
  1. steveearley
    September 15, 2009 at 12:57 am

    Nice application of Wordle, Paul. Good idea,

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