Table of Contents
The term “interactivity” is well-known and is frequently used nowadays. It originated in the ancient times. Naturally, during centuries, interactivity has changed as a term and a process. Body language was the first and primary form of interaction, which was a way to transmit a simple message from one person to another by using guests and mimics. Nonetheless, humanity did not stop on this edge of its development. People continued to progress, and they realized that body language did not satisfy their needs any more. Therefore, they developed a new way of interaction ‑ spoken language. Comparing to body language, it has several advantages: in particular, it enables one to transmit larger amounts of information transmitted with higher accuracy. In the process of its development, interactivity has always been a major part of the media, which manifests itself differently in its various types.
The first media group, which will be examined when analyzing the question of interrelation with interactivity, is photography. It was invented in the 19th century and got ambiguous responses from the public. Mary Warmer Marien claims that, “It was conjectured to be variously an art, a danger to art, a science, a revolutionary means of education, a mindless machine, and a threat to a social order” (Warner 14). This invention gave a wide range of opportunities to the humanity. One of them is the embodiment of an idea of transforming an art concept into a material thing. This opportunity is a bright example of the manifestation of interactivity in photography.
Apart from photography, interactivity manifests itself in the desire to change the appearance of things, their borders or functions, and make them more flexible with regards to the outer factors, primarily human. Thus, the second group of media which should be discussed is the cinema. The invention of the cinema gave people the possibility for suspecting of the dynamic image, which was not possible before. These changes, in their turn, increased the level of interaction. Cinema got the power to interact not only with one person but with the society in general. Besides, it carries several social functions, namely the function of informing, education, influencing behavior, and entertainment.
The third group of the media is television. It is the next step in developing interactivity. Interaction manifests itself in this area with the penetration to the homes of its viewers. Due to its giant popularity, it is difficult to find a single house without a television set in it. Furthermore, interactivity appears in the flexibility and the variety of programs that the television offers. Historical, comic, business, and music channels are not the full list of the possible variants of video collections. Television has become an enormous industry, which includes hundreds of workers, who are earnings on advertising.
The last media group, which will be examined, is the digital media. It has the highest extent of interaction among the technologies used nowadays. Digital media involves such products as animation, social media, games, website and mobile applications, data visualization, and virtual reality. Such an extensive level of interactivity of the digital media manifests with many factors. First, it is accessibility and the ease of use. A user does not need to be a professional to get access and use any kind of the digital media. Second, it is the real time technologies. There is no need any more to wait for the film processing to get photographs. It is possible to take a photo and immediately watch it on the screen of the digital camera. Third, the one of the brightest and the most important manifestation of interactivity is the suppleness of external changes. The objects of the digital media accurately respond to the users’ request. The development of information technologies made the extent of the interaction impressive. Modern technologies can react to touch, shaking, and the human voice. On this edge, the interaction between people does not develop as fast as the interaction between humans and machines. Nonetheless, the progress does not stop. Scientists and specialists search for ways to improve current technologies with the aim to make them more flexible and interactive.
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In conclusion, the development of interaction, which is produced by the progress of the humanity and supported by the evolution of technologies, has passed several edges. It was becoming more and more complicated during each edge. Primitive body language has transformed into innovative technologies, and the digital media represents the highest level of the interactivity, which is available for the humanity currently.
A – Media Classifying
Despite the fact that technological development is a necessary condition of interactivity progress, it is not the main factor of this phenomenon. Human needs and requirements are the sources of interactivity improvement. Trends which are popular among the public are powerful enough to lead the interests of scientists. Various kinds of media create different impact on its users. Some of them have a hypnotic effect on the senses of the observers, whereas the other ones stimulate those senses. They are the reason for gaining popularity of some kinds of technologies and absolute oblivion of others.
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There is a thought that the media can be divided into groups, which are called “hot” or “cool,” depending on its audience participation and content definition. Moreover, the impact on the society and human senses play a major role in the media classifying. McLuhan suggests that the terms “hot” and “cool” depend on the “temperature” of the message, which was put into the media (Steinberg 287). Furthermore, it is important to realize that the “temperature” does not depend on the content of the image. The message in the “hot” media is full, when it has hypnotic effects on the audience. On the other hand, the inadequacy of the image in the “cool” media provokes the stimulation of senses. However, such classification is conventional and not constant. During the development, some kinds of the media can transform from “hot” to “cool” and vice versa.
Photography and cinema belong to the “hot” media, because they represent a full image. They require minimal participation from the recipient. The message is delivered in such kind of media itself. Conversely, the television can be put in the “cool” group. The comparison of the cinema and television helps to understand the difference between these categories. The image in the cinema is projected onto the screen. It is three-dimensional, and any detail is clearly expressed. The viewer does not need to think about the components, because he/she gets a full image. The situation is not similar when one observes an image on the screen of a television set. The observer gets the two-dimensional image, which requires his participation. He needs to create some details in the mind, which he/she does not receive. In such way, the television grabs the whole attention of the viewer. As a result, the observer is much more involved in the television picture than in the cinema.
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Nonetheless, due to the technological progress, it is possible to change the substance of the media and the image that is embodied in it. The necessary and required improvements can transform the image of the television set to make it full and three-dimensional. Thus, the television will turn into the “hot” group instead of the “cool” one. Furthermore, holography is the kind of technology that is able to turn the photography into the “cool” group. Holography has several advantages over photography, which are: higher quality of an image, larger amount of information, and recoverability. However, the holography is not widespread among the public because of the high cost and complexity of its creation and usage. It remains an object of scientific research and security organizations. So, photography stays among the “hot” media, while the holography is being in its process of improvement.
In conclusion, the technological development and people’s interest are the factors, which are required for the evolution of the media. Furthermore, the influence of the media on the audience is the main factor in the direction of media development. According to this impact, all existing media can be divided into the two conditional groups, which are called “hot” and “cool.” The “hot” media is characterized by the complete image and hypnotic effects on the human senses. In its turn, the “cool” media provide inferior image, which stimulates people’s senses. However, there are ways that can change the access to the group. They are the improvement of the current media technologies and creating of new techniques can remove it from the one group and place to another.
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B – Impact of the Media Accessibility
People’s needs and the area of their interests determine technological progress. However, this connection is not unilateral. In its turn, information technologies influence the society in several ways. “Accessibility” is the factor, which causes the most notable effect on different levels of people’s lifestyle. Due to this factor, the modern gadgets have rapidly entered people’s lives. It is impossible to imagine the daily routine without the usage of technological advances, for example when doing such simple and habitual things as telephoning visa smartphones or sending messages on the social networking sites. Moreover, the authority has changed, too. The Internet and digital cameras make it possible for any person to create his/her own product and upload it to the global network. However, the value of such works is often doubtful, and they can hardly be considered as examples of art. Besides, the free access to the technologies and media produces a new kind of the crime – cybercrime. The criminals hack the content with various vicious intentions, for example to steal some information or personal data. Furthermore, accessibility has changed the attitude of people to all kinds of the media and the way people use it.
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With the growing accessibility of the media, photography has lost its leading positions and became the area of interests of the selected audience. Only true connoisseurs of photography art still prefer that media by holding exhibitions and supporting it in such a way. The reason is the high prize of the analog cameras, films, and service, while the digital cameras are much cheaper and easier in use. Moreover, it gives such possibilities as immediate display on the screen, the editing of photos, and deleting unnecessary ones with the aim to save memory. The cinema is a popular kind of leisure time activity. People of different age groups do not deny visiting of movie theatres. The three-dimensional technology and special acoustic system give the feeling of involvement into the events that are happening on the screen. Despite the popularity of the cinema, the biggest part of films is watched at home. The access to the Internet makes it unnecessary to go outside and pay for the ticket. Nonetheless, cinema is still a significant part of the giant entertainment industry. Films manage to earn millions of dollars in the premiere weeks.
A television set is widely considered as an extra member of the family. Viewers spend many hours in front of it. Sometimes they even make the plan of their day in such way that does not let them miss their favorite television show. Frequently, people are inclined to believe anything that they have seen on the television, which can lead to some negative consequences, because the content of such media can be on the low level. However, viewers should always keep their mind critical and analyze everything that they have watched. The digital media poses a significant influence on the audience. The social media, digital photos, and games have become a usual thing for every person. According to the Statistic Brain Research Institute, on average about 58 millions of photos are uploaded to the Instagram daily (“Instagram Company Statistics”). However, such high level of accessibility and popularity has some negative effects. The average quality of the digital media is low, because its creators are not professionals. They are just simple users of the global network. Photos, videos, and music are not considered as part of the art. They are the parts of the daily routine and entertainment.
In conclusion, the accessibility to technologies is a significant factor, which determines the attitude of people to the media. This factor produces both positive and negative consequences. On the one hand, it gives the possibility for everyone to watch, create, and share own products. On the other hand, it is the tool of decreasing the quality of the media and its content. However, the advantage of the useful points depends on the audience who is powerful enough to control and influence the media development.