I have to mention how much this writer’s attempts to add personal flair really got in the way of what they were trying to say. Apart from the obviously unnecessary joke about the Boolean nature of virginity, more benign phrases like “…with sufficient open-mindedness (several cubic light-years’ worth!)” and entire paragraphs dedicated to painfully juvenile shots at his readers just left me feeling really annoyed. I was writing notes in the margins, about half of which were just the word “ARG” whenever the author made some sort of stupid self-important joke.
The phrase “interactivity” in the computing world seems to be a bit like the word “immersive” in the theater world. Everybody has some sort of knowledge of what it is, but true insiders are the only ones who truly know what it is. And boy, do they like to rub it in. Take, for example, this chapter about interactivity, wherein the author spends about two pages talking about how “silly” everyone else’s notion of the word is before finally getting to the point. Arg.
The author is, of course, talking about something fairly important. We’ve all set aside two years of our lives to come here to talk about interactive media, so, annoying writing style aside, it makes sense that we should read up a little on what interactive media actually is. The definition cited is that interaction requires two actors who each listen to what the other is saying, process the new information to come up with a response, and respond in a way that reflects what they’ve processed. The degree of interactivity reflects the measure to which each of these three steps is carried out.