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Question 1 week 2

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Transcript of Question 1 week 2

Week 2 question 1
McMillan writes, “As individuals interact through new media they expect those media to obey social and natural rules. All these rules come from the world of interpersonal interaction, and from studies about how people interact with the real world. But all of them apply equally well to media” (14). Using examples from all four readings, do you think interactive media is similar to real life interaction? What are comparable interactions that occur in real live versus online in a one-on-one setting? One person to many people? Many people to many people?
I strongly disagree with McMillan's statement that all rules from social interpersonal interaction apply to media. As Ruskoff pointed out, the internet gives people a place to form dissenting opinions and discuss them. While this is possible in real life, the anonymity of the internet changes how people communicate. People feel more comfortable voicing their controversial opinions or insulting others because there is a lack of accountability on the internet. In traditional interpersonal interaction, we usually all take great care to not offend each other because we can see and feel their reaction. An offensive comment or outburst in person causes a great scene and a great deal of social anxiety. The same comment on the internet is easily made because we cannot see the others reaction.

Communication on the internet, particularly in forums or comment threads, can be a free for all. Simply look at YouTube comments for an example of this. Carrying intelligent conversations becomes hard and many times, replies involve insulting the producer of the content or other users. These types of comments are not only allowed, but almost accepted as a fundamental part of the internet. This is not a characteristic of traditional interaction. It is much easier to communicate without a filter online because the rules governing communication in traditional interaction are simply not as strong on the internet.

With that being said, there is still a great deal of comparable interactions that occur in real life versus online. Services such as Skype or Facetime allow people to interact with each other just as they would in real life. Professional forums and services such as LinkedIn allow people to communicate in a way similar to real life. Wikis allow people to have open discussion of a topic and with real time editing where the rules of traditional interaction also apply. Political sites or sites with a particular agenda still operate under traditional interaction rules. So in this sense, interactive media is similar to real life interaction. However, there is an entirely different side of the internet where the rules of traditional communication break down that is neglected by McMillan's statement.
I find myself on the side of the spectrum that interactive media is not similar to real life interaction. In Douglas Rushkoff's article "Playing God", he points out that new media and the idea of interactivity has given individuals the opportunity to challenge fundamental ideas and voice their opinion on the internet, regardless of its validity. Essentially, new media has given humans incredible new power that they did not have in the real world, making interactivity different from real life interactions. Caitlin Rubin, in her article, admits that interactivity and new media have incorporated significant real life interactions, but, nonetheless, that does not make interactivity the same as real life. She declares the idea of a virtual reality to be a "miserable idea"--the thought of recreating something real to be real in a virtual sense is an absurd idea, and real life interactions can never be accurately recreated. Clay Shirky describes interactivity in a way that it is creating new ways of thought, or new ways of getting things done through collaborative interactions in new media. With this said, perhaps interactivity does not accurately depict real life, but it has potential to enhance it. Finally, from McMillan's article, I was able to come to the conclusion, in my opinion, that interactivity through new media will never fully be able to recreate real life interactions because they are both intrinsically different. With this said, I am not refuting the fact that interactivity and new media do have advantages that real life interactions cannot offer, but I believe that no technology or new media can account for the sincerity of an actual real life conversation.
I think that there are some forms of media that allow people to interact in a similar way as they do in real life. For example, video chat and webcam are basically just simulating face to face speech. What it allows for is for these people to speak to each other over long distances. Some websites like blogs and forums resemble the real life interaction of debate and collaborative discourse. All of these example, however, are still not showing a direct resemblance. This is because these forms of media are supposed to serve as tools to help us interact as we normally do but in new environments, with more people, or with people you otherwise couldn't interact with.
I think that interactive media has the potential to be similar to real life interaction, but that this is not always the case. McMillan mentions that there is an assumption that "two-way communication is a common desire of both the communicator and the audience." In a 'one person to many people' situation, I think that online interaction can indeed be very similar to real life. Imagine, for example, a politician speaking to many members of a community in a town hall setting. Both in real life and online, there is one principle speaker, and then individuals among the "many" are able to ask questions that can be answer by the main speaker.

The University of Chicago partially defines "interactive" as "the ability of the user to participate in the creation or modification of a medium." I think that this relates more closely to real life on-on-one situation. For example, if you are working on a class project with a partner in person, both people have the ability to change/create parts of the project. This can also be true when using a medium like Google Docs to collaborate.

Rushkoff seems to think that rather than obeying all of the same social rules, online interaction "loosens up fixed narratives." I think that this is especially true in many-to-many situations, which realistically cannot happen in real life: the result would just be noise, and no one would truly be heard. Online, each person has their own space to voice their opinion, and other users can scroll through everyone's opinions at their leisure, allowing them to truly take in what many different people say and think.
Interactive media is similar to real life interactions, however interactive media still leaves something to be desired. Using interactive media, people are missing the in person, visual cues of interactions. Even programs that have life video streaming still leave something to be desired. Being able to touch or physically interact with someone will always make interactive media different from the real world. From the media presented, I had a hard time agreeing with Rushkoff's article. He believes that media and real life are one in the same, that with the help of new media adn interactive media, people can talk and communicate more effectively, bouncing ideas and religoins off of each other easier than in the past. Using blogs people can interacts from one person to many people or even many people to many people. Messaging and emailing are ways to interact one-on-one, but they can also be used to interact with many people. McMillan writes about olnine newspapers as a way to improve old media, while Rubin writes about television and the catch phrase "We'll see you next time" as a way to connect the host and show to the audience. This makes everything seem more personal. Interations that occur in real life have at least one of the 5 senses engaged, as McMillan writes, but I dissagree a little in that at least 4 of the five senses are activley participating in a personal conversation. Taste is not typically part of an interaction and is therefore the 1 being 'left out'. Whether that personal conversation is one-to-one, one person to many (like in a lecture), or many people to many, at least four senses are always engaged. In an online community all five senses will never be engaged. People may be able to listen and look, but touch and smell will not be used in interactive media. For that reason it is difficult to compare interactions in real life to the interactive media.
Based on this week's readings, it is interesting to try and compare "interactive media" as a whole to real life interaction. Ne interactive media is both more powerful and less capable than human interaction. For instance, Clay Shirky observes that new media is an incredibly powerful tool for rapid collaboration. However, this mass communication takes away from the human element of face to face conversation. Participating in a discussion with 10 or 100 or 1000 people means that you will know each of them on a less and less personal level.

Doug Rushkoff's article similarly centers around this power of collaboration. However, he focuses on a key Difference between pre-internet storytelling (specifically religion) and post-internet narratives. Basically, he states that new media allows us to be more critical of the old stories and those who used to tell them, which often leads to diminished respect for these stories and their tellers. In other words, we are now more capable of telling our own versions of a story, yet less trusting of others who do the same.

The University of Chicago provides several examples of ways in which interactive media is becoming more similar to real life interaction. The idea of cool media, for existence, discusses highly participatory forms of media, in which the user is very active like in a real world scenario.

Finally, Sally McMillan's paper cites an interesting way to compare virtual interaction to real interaction. The idea that interactivity depends on the way each individual perceives it, and what facets of interaction are important to them, means that some users may find virtual interaction incredibly real and rewarding, while others may not find it nearly as satisfying as personal communication.
Leaves something
to be desired...

Not Real
"No technology or new
media can account for the
sincerity of an actual real
life conversation."
- dleanord12
"interactivity depends on
the way eachindividual
perceives it" - cnaff0
Interactive media definitely has the potential to be similar to real life interaction. For instance, in Clay Shirky's TED Talk, the people of China communicated the earthquake through interactive media such as Twitter. The use of Interactive Media produced a similar result to what would have happened if interactive media devices hadn't been used to inform people of the earthquake. However, without interactive media it would have taken a lot longer for people to know about the earthquake. In McMillan's article, online journalism is mentioned. The reader to reader and journalist to reader interactions online could potentially be exactly the same if the journalist were having a discussion with the audience in person. The readers could ask the same questions, debate pieces in the journalist's work, and have a discussion as a group. However, there are examples that discredit interactive media's potential to be similar to real life interactions. The first example comes from Rushko ff's article. Individuals who go to church usually are not permitted to question anything told to them by the minister because they are the masses. They are there to listen to the, shall we say, "words of God", not contradict them. Rushkoff mentioned that the ministers he knew of who displayed their religious messages online often reconsidered their roles as the absolute and only mediators of faith. In this case, interactive media is not similar to real life interaction. In the University of Chicago article by Rubin, the interaction between a news anchor and his audience is mentioned. Although the anchor addresses the audience by saying "We'll see you tomorrow" and creates a sense of a connection with the viewer, this interaction wouldn't be the same as a real life interaction with the anchor. In fact, the anchor could be completely different in a one on one conversation with an individual viewer. Moving away from the examples presented in the articles, some other examples of interactions that could occur equally the same in real life and interactive media could include the interaction in MMORPG games and interaction through mediums such as Skype and FaceTime. Both of these examples could either be one-on-one or one-to-many. As for many to many, an open discussion forum, whether it is in person or online could be an example of interactive media being similar to real life interaction.
Interactive media is certainly 'similar' to real life interaction but not entirely the same. McMillan spends time on all forms of interactivity but seems to focus more on the one-on-one, Rushkoff makes notes regarding the one to many, and Shirky explores the many to many. They all speak about the interactivity and highlight similarities and the contraries to how new media has its own rules and that is what makes it similar to real-life interaction but also points out that the rules are not completely the same, which makes it unlike real-life interaction.

In terms of interactive, the University of Chicago article makes point to define and elaborate on that new media is certainly interactive. This, in a way, already makes it similar to real life interactions in that both are often but not always interactive. For instance, take one-on-one settings, or as McMillan puts it, User-to-User. In a text-based medium, mediated by the screen, this kind of interaction seems to be, at first glance, much too different from real-life interaction. It is and it is not. It is not because there is more than just text in new media, there are video and sound. Although there is still the screen, you can replicate everything in a real-life interaction (following a natural rule) save the senses of smell and touch. So here, the fundamental rules of real-life versus digital interaction are different, by lacking two senses.

As another example of how it is unlike real-life interactions, I turn back to Rushkoff. He points out that it is unnatural or socially different (from a time before new media) that the audience should be able to talk back to the speaker. From the television to the radio to the man on the podium, the audience does not often talk back, and this is, in a way, natural. It is because of a fear of social stigma by being brought up in front of a large group and being possibly wrong themselves (in my opinion). Therefore, only those that feel strongly opposed and "in the right" would speak. Now, it is the right and the right because most online feel they are right, another different rule than real-life interaction. Thus, interactive media is similar in that it has rules too, but the rules are different.

Back to how they are similar, Shirky brings up good points. He talks about how it is natural to talk to each other and interact. This is because we take human interaction for granted. Now, interactive media is getting taken for granted and it is following a similar trend to real-life interaction. The many are speaking with the many as usual, but now the number of the many has grown exponentially due to the convenience brought on by the internet. Opinions fly fast and rumors are taken to be truth, just like real-life. So now both forms of interactions are sharing in the shortcomings and strengths of the group. Thus, interactive media and real-life media are similar in that they both follow a similar flow and share in many of the same strengths and weaknesses.
Interactive media is similar to real life media, to an extent. One example from the University of Chicago article was the newscaster that has a familiar relationship with those watching the show. Furthermore, the audience can write to the news station or editor to give their response. This shows that there is a back and forth interaction, as there is in the real world; however, it is mediated through the internet. I think the article by McMillan is accurate when she states that even real life interaction is mediated….through the five senses. Online interaction simply passes through a different medium. Another important distinction between online interaction and real life interaction is brought up by Rushkoff. Online interaction can occur in the many-to-many pattern as well as the one-to-one and one-to-many pattern. Also, online interaction is not limited by geographic or time constraints, so people from different backgrounds and areas can communicate their ideas. Clay Shirky reinforces this idea with the example of a forum developing during the Obama campaign. Many people were able to work together to get their voices heard. So the interaction is largely still between humans, the internet just allows for a broader range of communication at the expense of a loss of in-person cues such as the senses. There is also the human-to-document and human-to-system interaction that McMillan mentions, but that does not include multiple humans at all.
According to Clay Shirky, interactivity over the internet is our present reality. Many times he asserts that even if we do not like it, media is the medium we have to utilize. Therefore, we just need to learn to use it in a better way. He provided an example of how protests that took place in China mirror a “many to many” communication. Many people can, at once, make their own opinions heard and accepted. This is parallel to the way people comment on something on Youtube or Facebook that goes viral. Here, everyone can make their opinions known to one another.

Similarly, Douglas Rushkoff states an example of “one to many” communication that occurs both online and in person. He used an example of preacher delivering his message to people of various different views online. He says that this is similar to when the fundamentalist Muslims were declaring holy war and people in Baghdad were opposing them. Internet provides individuals with a way to defend their faith and views in life. He emphasizes on the point that internet makes us more open-minded and acceptable of each other. Throughout his article, he fights the idea of a “truth” that is set in stone. Therefore, I conclude that to him the internet is the medium through which a person can fight the idea of a single truth, and in turn, create his/her own ideas.

In the article by Sally McMillan, the idea of “source and receiver” is presented. However, it takes an interesting turn when these titles are described as interchangeable. A person who is a source in one conversation can be a receiver in another. This idea is present both in reality and online. A student might learn from his professors and go on to teach the concepts he/she has learned to others. Thus, he/she changes from a receiver to a source. This idea is an example of how a “one to one” conversation can morph in to “one to many” conversation and vice versa.

Finally, in the article by Caitlin Rubin, she emphasizes how new media has taken over the job that “real” conversations use to perform. For example, now news and information almost always travels through the internet or the television. Before, the news traveled from one person to another through various conversations. Rubin highlights the reversal of roles when he writes, “While the regulations of the real public sphere once molded interactions of the virtual, the new modes of engagement popularized in virtual media have begun to be seen as models for reality.”.

So, even though one to one, one to many, and many to many interactivities occurs both online and in person, most of these article elucidate that new media is becoming a better medium for interactivity. It allows people to express their ideas in ways that are restrictive offline. Interactivity has not only garnered a new definition through new media, but it has also improved itself.
I think interactive media is similar to real life interaction because it is meant to simulate it. However, people interact online in a more, “Revolutionized or liberated modes of expression”(Rubin). People feel less restrained by the rules of real world contact. Rushkoff presents the point that, “The internet teaches us to see the value of diversity and plurality”. Before the internet, we did not encounter all that much diversity in our real life interactions. McMillian says that interactivity is not unique to new media, but suggests it facilitates it in new environments. Online interactivity is similar to our real life interactivity, but the context of interacting over the internet is different. The online and real life interactivity is not always so easy to separate. The Ted talk explains how the news of a real world earth quake in China spread online before American instruments detected it. Conversations that happen in real life are very similar to those that happen in a one-on-one setting online. Even one person’s blog is similar to them getting up and speaking in front of a group. However, when it is many people to many people it is different. In a real life large discussion everyone has to wait their turn and sometimes never get to say what they want to say due to time constraints. When it is online the conversation never ends and everyone speaks at once.
Interactive media is becoming increasingly more like real life interaction. As Clay Shirky points out, in the 20th century, the only technology available was either good for conversation, or good at creating groups, however the many to many people aspect was missing. Now with new media, all the technological advances of the 20th century have come together into one medium, and we can now have interaction among people and among groups. The physical and temporal barriers that used to limit technology are now irrelevant, and make online interactions essentially as real as a real life interaction. The University of Chicagos entry, Interaction, goes even further to argue that new media is not only developed to overcome the physical barrier, but that interactivity is now "...an immersion and affective engagement within another world or system entirely." Meaning we are no longer just interacting online, but rather "immersed" in another world. In addition, the article argues that the nternet has its own set of social rules and guidelines to be followed, and where real life used to define online social cues, online interactions are now beginning to define real life social and natural rules, although the two worlds "do not precisely mirror face-to-face relationships." Douglas Rushkoff also argues that the online community is changing the real life community in his article Playing God. He argues that every opinion matters, and that new media has allowed us to see that and steer away from fundamentalism, where there is one story with one author. He argues that the interactivity of new media has allowed people in societies to talk back, and fill in their own opinions, where even in real life before new media, people may have remained silent. In addition, McMillan argues that face-to-face interaction that has been idealized to be a "continuous feedback" is not always the case, and in this sense, virtual conversations may not be an lesser form of communication, as virtual interactions are still held up to social norms.
I think that interactive media is similar to real life interaction on a superficial level. As said in the University of Chicago reading, "the Internet immerses its users in an environment of abstracted space in which interactions are enacted through the click of a button." Interaction through media is still interaction, regardless of the people involved, the media, etc. However, it is just the click of a button or the typing of some words. It is valid interaction on the exterior, but when you dive into the more complex concept of interactions I don't feel it can be classified as so.

In Clay Shirky's TED talk he mentions censorship of the media, and although not all interactions are censored I feel that the fact it could be censored further proves that it is not true interaction. Things can be deleted. Messages can be misconstrued. Media even allows for the opposing end of the interaction not to respond. These are all examples of occurrences that invalidate interaction over media as similar to real life interaction. I can talk face to face to people in a one-on-one setting, one-to-many, and a group to another group, and thanks to the internet I can do all of those interactions over a website like Facebook. However, all of the factors I just mentioned are very applicable to that sort of interaction. It is all just text on a screen or possibly an image. The entire point of Rushkoff's article is to show how we can alter the truth, and virtually write our own endings. Yes, people can be dishonest and messages can be confused in person, but I feel that when us
ing media as a middle-man in interaction between two parties it just increases the chances of that occurring.

This all being said, I do agree with McMillan when she says that interactivity means different things to different people in different contexts. My experiences with new media have led to me believing that interaction online in not the same as real life interaction, although they are similar. It is a debatable topic that could be argued either way, but I do believe it is not the same.
I think interactive media is similar to real life interaction, if the interacting people are acting online how they act in real life. If people are being fake or different in these two realms, then they are not similar. Assuming that people are being true to themselves, interactive media allows people to discover knowledge that they may have never known before, as reflected upon by Douglas Rushkoff. He finds interactive media a positive thing because the interactive medium is an invitation to talk back and express our opinions. Chat rooms allow people to discuss different issues and users can contribute their own ideas to the story. Caitlin Rubin studies the way interactivity has increased over the years with new media and how a new societal space has been introduced. Online interactions go beyond physical boundaries and how people interact online is through revolutionized or liberated modes of expression. It is believed that digital interactions can be translated into interaction in reality. Clay Shirky discusses how social media sites, like Twitter, Facebook, and texts help people who live in repressive places interact with the outside world and report on news by going around censors. Sally McMillan suggests that interactivity is multi-dimensional. Comparable interactions that occur in real life vs. online in a one-on-one setting are when two people are having a personal conversation between just them two. A chat room between two people could be similar. In real life, one person to many people could be a teacher talking to a classroom. Online, a teacher could post a YouTube video of a lecture to teach their students. Many to many people could be two businesses working out a deal in real life, and online these two businesses could do their deals over Skype or email.
I personally don't think it is, but I think there is a connection. Like in Rubin's piece, she says, "In this way, it is bridging two realms: that of reality with that of televised media. In inducting the viewer into this on-screen world, 'interactivity' acts as a 'kind of ‘suture’ between ourselves and our machines.'"

And I think Rushkoff perfectly illustrates while I disagree that media interaction isn't the same as real life, "Online communities have no real form-they are the ever-changing consensus reality of their members." I do realize that in real life things are always changing as well as the people in them, however that doesn't change our basic structure and understanding as a society. Online, however, changing the users or topic revolutionizes the entire site, and it is completely different. There's a different sort of authenticity with online worlds and the real one.
While I would object to the implicit suggestion that online interaction is somehow not "real life" interaction, I'm inclined to suggest that it differs from face-to-face interaction due to the range of those involved. The internet allows interactions spread across people in countless regions, based on interests and ideas. Rushkoff notes how this allows for spread and diffusion of religious ideologies, and Shirky demonstrates how this permits political spread, even in regions such as China, with massive internet censorship. One-to-one interaction in real life *may* be comparable to one-to-one interaction online, simply do to the difficulty in establishing a connection online to a single person whom you do not already know, but for those seeking larger audiences, the non-online methods of communication to many simply do not compare.
In some ways, I think interactive media is definitely similar to real life interaction. Shirky gives the example in his TED Talk of the 2008 earthquake in CHina, and how Twitter was able to braodcast the event live across the world simply by using readily available technology. Of course, the speed with which the information was passed in unfeasible without the help of phones, computers, and other devices, as is the number of people it reached in such a short period of time. Still, the fact that the information was passed from source to source by electronics is really no different than if it had been passed by word-of-mouth directly from one physical person to another. In the context of Rushkoff'spiece, the same is true for one-to-many sources rather than many-to-many sources. One can just as easily stand on a podium and shout to the masses as they can make a post on a forum and have just as many people read what they have to say, and many people can make the same message by s
ending out a group email or chat room as they can by meeting up in person.

However, as Rubin and McMillan point out, there are many instances in our lives now that can't be compared to a real life situation. video games are becoming more and more complex, and as they draw users in with amazingly realistic and believable gameplay, they still can't ocmpletely replicate the physical world. Even in multiplayer games, where the user is technically still interacting iwth other human beings (just not in the physical sense), there are still parts of the game that are completely automated. Characters in games have preprogrammed responses and actions, and no matter what moves the user makes, they are still bound within the plot lines and pre-determined map layouts of the game. It is situations like these in which technologically-oriented activites cannot imitate life, no matter how interactive they may be.
I believe that interactive media does resemble real life interaction but sometimes does not. For example, interaction on Twitter is very different than real life interaction. You are very 140 character tweets from many different people at the same time and choosing only to interact with a few at a time. There would be no way for you to listen to 200 people talking out loud at the same time and pick out the few you want to interact with. You can also retweet and favorite statements made on Twitter. Retweeting allows other people to see what you have seen and favoriting lets the tweeter know that you like what they are saying. The same thing doesn't exactly happen in real life. You definitely can let other people know about something you heard earlier that you thought was funny and you can laugh when someone says something that you find humorous but it doesn't translate exactly. Comparable interactions in real life and online (of all three types) usually feature voice chat or video chat. Typing out words to others is entirely another realm of interaction in itself. Shirky showed that interactive media is different from real life because there would be no way for the information from the Chinese earthquake to proliferate our news so quickly if it was only held to real-life interaction. Rushkoff gives this same sentiment by showing that interactive media allows us to make our own decisions about ideas that were only received by one-to-many in real life interaction before.
Media interaction is different from social interaction as it is a completely different form of communication. One of the biggest and most unique aspects of digital communication is that it is community driven. Like it was said in the TED talk, even news outlets were slower to act than the community and twitter posts. Even back in America, college students organized immense anti-war mobs with little planning with cell phone communication. The Douglas reading talked about how internet communication brings forth a sense of community and equality. The U-Chicago reading mentioned that because people felt a degree of anonymity, they could say more freely what is on their minds. Digital communication is simply a different form of communication that has evolved with our current generations.
I think that interactive media is similar to real life interactions because of the ability it has to act as a catalyst in some relationships. For instance, in the TED talk, the speaker discusses the effects of social media in terms of many people to many people. This was theoretically simulated interaction via social media, however the effects it created in letting the world know what was happening in China were very real. In the same regard, the effects that lack of mass communication, discussed in the last article, are valid as well. I think that interactive media holds a stronger power and more potent effect because people are able to "instantly" connect, swap ideas, and synergize experiences.
"Interactivity has not only garnered a new definition through new media, but it has also improved itself."
- richan
No I do not believe these rules apply equally well to online media. In a one on one setting this is still very similar to "real world" interaction such as a conversation at lunch or on the phone or anything else because its still at its core a two way communication, simple still. One person to many it starts to get more complicated because in the age of the internet this is no longer very possible as discussed in "Playing God" people now respond and interact rather than simply hearing the one and only narrative, so no in this case the old rules would no longer apply because this setting no longer applies. Then finally many to many is a prospect that has little correlation because managing this in "real life" is a very difficult thing to do, perhaps best would be a Socratic round table style discussion in which case the rules are similar in which everyone has a voice and can participate but on a much much larger and more diverse scale. This was more referenced by Clay Shirky in how everyone can suddenly participate,in this new interactive media as discussed in the other two articles.
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