Interactivity in society: Locating an elusive concept

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

184 Scopus citations


Interactivity has been identified as a core concept of new media, yet despite nearly three decades of study and analysis, we scarcely know what interactivity is, let alone what it does, and have scant insight into the conditions in which interactive processes are likely to be consequential for members of a social system. This article attempts to address this deficiency by critiquing three self-defeating tendencies and an erroneous assumption of interactivity research, then proposes four basic propositions around which systematic knowledge regarding interactivity in society may be built. In the spirit of bridging mass and interpersonal processes, a model of interactivity is proposed to initiate discussion about the concept as a cross-level and multivalent phenomenon - one with both positive and negative consequences - and to spur more socially relevant research. For interactivity to succeed as a concept, it must have some meaningful social and psychological relevance beyond its technical status as a property of media systems or message exchanges.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)373-383
Number of pages11
JournalInformation Society
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2004


  • Interactivity
  • Media interaction
  • Reciprocal communication
  • Technology affordances
  • User perceptions


Dive into the research topics of 'Interactivity in society: Locating an elusive concept'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this