ImpactofInteractivity INM110

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INM110
Impact of
Interactivity
Christian Villani
2-22-2019
Villani 1
Interactivity is word I really hadn’t thought deeply about, even though it can be used
to describe so many of the things I use daily. Interactivity as I understand it, is the notion
of receiving feedback while also giving out information, the key feature being the
exchange of information. By having this exchange, we create a relationship that allows
us to communicate across several mediums; the advantage being the user feels more
engaged, which in turn creates a lasting experience. In our daily life, we are surrounded
by multiple interactive products, from some of the most basic things such as light
fixtures, which need to be given a signal to be turned on and off, to more complex
objects such as our smartphones, which we interact with through touch, sound, voice,
and sight, and receive a multitude of information from. Interactivity has truly brought on
a substantial change in the way we interact with each other and how we gather
information, for me not only has interactivity changed some of my basic actions in life
but it also has changed how I live my life from the way I consume news, to the way I
learn, and through the way I consume entertainment.
News has been one of the few industries that has changed and morphed into so
many different mediums. From newspapers to newsrooms, receiving information about
the world around us has changed quite a bit in the last 50 years, yet until recently there
was very little interaction involved with receiving the news. When I was younger I
remembered my parents would turn on either the television or the radio to hear the
latest world news; they would watch or listen and then discuss amongst themselves, yet
they never had the option to view this news from a different source or from a different
view point, they were limited by the range of the technology they had. Nowadays, I find,
for me at least, that getting news from around the world has become more of an
interactive experience, with platforms like Twitter and Reddit, I can share, read, and
then discuss news with other people who might be interested in the same topic.
Whenever I want to know what is going on around me or in the world, I don't turn the TV
on or read the newspaper anymore, I just open Twitter and see what's trending or go on
Reddit to see what’s on the frontpage. With these platforms I get more options to gather
my opinion about a news source, I can ask questions, I can discuss with other people, I
can read other people’s comments which might help me see another point of view from
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a different part of the world. Where news once used to be a one-sided ordeal coming
down from a large broadcasting or newspaper company, it now seems more like a
collective community where anyone with a smart device can report something and/or
state their opinion. Though I think the interactivity of these platforms helps
communication throughout, having so much information all the time at the tip of our
fingers can be overwhelming at times. Being constantly connected has its downsides,
for me I found that over time I became desensitized by all the constant bad news that is
shared, from school shootings to natural disasters, it became a natural occurrence to
see something of that nature on these platforms because of the wide scope they can
achieve. Though these platforms also provide a place to distribute support for these
unfortunate events, we can no longer turn off the news, unless we turn ourselves away
from our technology, which for me at least, is getting harder as the years go by.
The next area where I found interactivity has impacted me, is the way I learn. Ever
since I was in elementary school learning has been somewhat interactive, but the
amount of interactivity usually depended on the teacher. When I was in high school, our
school had Smart Boards in each room; which were basically large touch screens with
projectors that displayed anything from the teacher’s computer and allowed the teacher
to share and interact with the content. The issue with this form of interaction is the
teacher had full control over it and what was to be taught. For me, nowadays, I feel like
learning has changed greatly because of interactive platforms such as YouTube and
Reddit. To clarify this type of learning won’t get you a degree but it’s more of an ongoing
learning experience from any device connected to the internet. For example, if I’m
curious about a certain topic like black holes, or super volcanoes, I can find thousands
of videos on YouTube on those topics, each giving an explanation in a different way.
YouTube has really opened interactive learning because not only can a creator reach
millions of people, but the users can also interact with the creator and ask for certain
videos on specific topics. The interactivity of these platforms have also impacted the
way I learn about new products that I might want to purchase. I can't remember the last
time I didn’t look up a video review of an electronic device or video game on YouTube
before purchasing, it’s not even second nature at this point. In essence these review
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videos have replaced the need to go to a store to receive a demo of a product, and
essentially helps me lessen my buyer’s remorse.
In conclusion, interactivity encompasses a lot of what people do today, to the point
where interactivity is now always expected. Looking at technology alone we now have
products such as smart fridges, smart microwaves, and smart toilets, which all
previously were simply functional products but can now talk to us and relay different
kinds of information. With that in mind I’m sure in the next 20 years more products will
become interactive in nature, to a point which we can’t imagine right now. I personally
can't wait to see what interactivity has in store for the future and how it will change and
help the world.
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