The Interactive Audience. Here before, here now and here to stay.

In the lecture, it was asked if people actually want to or have time for interactivity. I’m going to say…. yes. And I think many other people would agree.

The other day I was reading an article in mX which contained a quote from a man named Ben Huh. He is the CEO of The Cheezburger Network, which includes a number of websites where users submit their own memes. In the article, Ben Huh noted that the success of his websites, with one of them receiving half a million hits per day, is due to the participatory nature of the internet and user-generated content. Interactivity. Ben may be the CEO, but the content of his websites is created by internet users who are altering and re-appropriating certain images and video. So the millions of people using his website have time for interactivity. What about everyone who retweets, posts, blogs, uploads, comments. Those billions do to.

In ‘Audience inter/active’, Cover points out that the interactive user is not a new trend, but a desire, that has always existed, by people to “participate in the creation and transformation” of texts. The internet has simply made it easier to do so, and provides a lot more options. There is the example of television. Once, audiences only had one option when watching television, and that was it, to sit and watch. Now we can decide on the outcome of shows by voting via our mobile phones or mobile and tablet apps or we can discuss with other audience members via the forums, Twitter and Facebook. A lot of shows now have a twitter feed on the screen, displaying tweets relating to the content. But has anyone else noticed how it is always really positive things? I think that this aspect may not be producers trying to foster interactivity with the audience, but trying to have some sort of control over the reactions of viewer. Or even just trying to keep the viewer interested in the show, because most of us will be on some sort technology looking at something else (lolscats, maybe?).

So, media companies, producers, authors and website designers, who are obviously reading this blog (what else would they be doing?)… don’t try and stifle interactivity. Embrace it and foster it. Users trust and like to hear the opinions of other users (think reviews and TripAdvisor.

The new media audience definitely has time to interact, and I don’t think that that is going to change. Do you agree?

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If you have been hiding from social media as of late, this is one of the most popular cat memes (lolcats) that’s circulating at the moment. Admit it, he is entertaining!

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