This article attempts to clarify the murky conceptual water of "interactivity," arguing that the term refers to two distinct phenomena: interactivity between people and interactivity between people and computers or networks. The former orients research on the process of interactivity. The latter orients research on the product of interactivity. That two distinct phenomena have been labeled with the same term causes problems when one wants to move from theorizing about interactivity in the abstract to investigating what effects interactivity has and then to operationalizing measurement terms. Studying interactivity-as-process entails a research focus on human interaction. Studying interactivity-as-product entails a research focus on user interactions with technology. In wading into the murky waters of what interactivity is, we must not lose sight of why it matters. In research focused on the opportunities and constraints for citizen participation in the political process afforded by communication technology, for example, interactivity is a variable of importance.
- Computer-mediated communication
- Human-computer interaction
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Management Information Systems
- Cultural Studies
- Information Systems
- Political Science and International Relations