More Than The Medium: The Unique Role of Content in User Perception of Interactivity
While considerable communication literature rightly recognizes the importance of technology on user perception of interactivity, little attention has been paid to the unique manner in which content itself influences each receiver’s perception. It does so in a manner independent of the particular technology or medium used to communicate these messages. The continued examination of interactivity is vitally important with the ongoing transition of published content to digital media. This paper posits that, far from being a concrete absolute, interactivity is actually a highly complex and subjective construct. Interactivity refers to the perception of a positive outcome state resulting from the integration of individual receiver characteristics, substantive (interactive) technological features, and reactive content during mutual and reciprocal message exchanges. This paper examines the nature of interactivity, content's contribution to the interactive communication process, and how it uniquely influences communication outcomes. The central role of content within this process has not previously been examined in communication literature.
Keywords: Interactivity, Interactive, Content, New Media, Digital Media, user perception
Dr. James P. Gleason
Visiting Instructor, Department of Communication, Eastern Kentucky University