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What Are the Different Types of Interactive Media?

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  • Written By: Alina Dain
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 22 April 2014
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Interactive media usually refers to media that requires control, input, or an active response on the part of the consumer. For the most part the term is usually associated with digital technology, but it can also refer to other forms of media. Some of the different types of interactive media could be websites, digital video recorders (DVRs), computer games, online forums, email and even social networks. Interactive media can even include things like board games or print dictionaries that make the user engage with the content in an active manner.

Simply using the Internet for research or to read news can be considered interactive because users make decisions about what information to consume, as opposed to just passively consuming information. Interactive images, maps, or timelines allow users to click on the image to receive additional information. Video games are another strong example because the player must take active action to play the game by making decisions and manipulating the game character. Similarly, interactive simulation allows individuals to use computers to recreate real-life situations and practice the necessary behavior.

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Interactive media can refer not only to media that interacts with the user, but also media that makes users interact with each other. In this sense, video games that require multiple players or social networks are the best examples, but any online forums or even email could fit in this category. Users can post status updates, photos, and video on social media outlets, which usually become immediately visible to other users. Those other users can immediately post reactions.

Audio and video in their traditional form simply transmit information that the audience accepts passively. Sometimes radio and television can be interactive if they include other forms of media like animated graphics or encourage the audience to call in to ask questions, express opinions, or play games. In recent years, the DVR has made television much more interactive. Now, instead of just watching television programs when they are broadcast, people can use DVRs to take initiative by recording favorite programs to watch at a later time.

Any online resource database can be considered part of the different types of interactive media because it requires people to conduct active research. In that sense, even print books such as encyclopedias or dictionaries could be viewed as part of this category; they require users to actively search through the index for the necessary information. Board games can be considered interactive because they require players to make decisions and manipulations similar to those required when playing video games.

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healthy4life
Post 4

@Oceana – I also had to use those in college. This was also when I started using another new media.

I honestly did not have my own email address until I started college. They gave every student their own email address, and once I started using it, I was hooked.

These days, I check both my personal and work email several times a day. I get a thrill when I see that I have mail, and I respond right away.

So, something that I didn't even use a few years ago has now become my favorite form of interactive media. I even use it more than my cell phone when making plans with friends.

StarJo
Post 3

Interactive media marketing is the best technique for getting your business name out there, in my opinion. When you get your ads on popular social network sites and gaming sites, then you know that thousands, if not millions, of people are going to see them.

Of course, this will lead to people clicking on the link to your website and potentially becoming customers. Interactive media marketing may be expensive at the upstart, but the results that you could garner from it would make it a wise investment. You could earn your money back so quickly.

I don't have my own business, but if I did, I would definitely use interactive media marketing. I believe that it would lead to astounding numbers of sales.

JackWhack
Post 2

Wow! I never would have thought of board games and encyclopedias as forms of interactive media!

This is probably just because our society is so full of digital media today. No one even really considers physical items to be media anymore.

I know that when I think of interactive media, social networks are the first thing that comes to mind. All of the commenting and posting that goes on there is based on the concept of interaction. Without it, the networks would have no need of existing.

I have played plenty of board games in my life, and I must say that I prefer them to computer games. I love being able to grasp pieces in my hand, rather than click and drag them across a screen.

Oceana
Post 1

I've been using interactive digital media since college. Some of my textbooks came with CD-ROMs inside the back cover, so this forced me to use a computer.

Some of these CDs had little quizzes on them. These were no big deal, because you could always click back through the reading material and get the answers. They were basically just little exercises to keep the information on our minds.

I have to say that this type of interactive media really helped me learn the material. Just the fact that it required action on my part helped sear the information into my brain, and I had no trouble remembering it when test time arrived.

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