Active Audiences

Contemporary audiences are more active consumers of media texts. For my interactive infographic, it requires my target audience to be active and interact with my piece. The rise of interactivity within contemporary media texts highlights the changing consumption habits of audiences, from passivity to activity. Cover (2006 cited by Macek 2013) describes interactivity as

‘a culturally motivated and historically variable desire to participate in textuality.’

Audiences involvement with texts is increasing; not only by interacting more with the producers’ final media text/piece, but also with the production of texts. This relates to an iterative design process as it is important to engage with the audience at all stages within the process in order to gain useful advice and feedback. For my piece, audiences will hopefully engage with the final piece, but it is essential that throughout I involve the audience with the production and development of my piece. Jenkins (2006, p.60) suggests that:

‘Consumption becomes production; reading becomes writing; spectator culture becomes participatory culture.’

I feel that Jenkins ideas can apply to my target audience as well as to contemporary culture. I’m aware that individuals may participate with my final piece in various ways, some may prefer to spectate whereas others will be more willing to participate. Jenkins idea of ‘consumption becomes production’ relates to Lister et al (2003, p.10), as they believe that:

‘we have seen a shift from ‘audiences’ to ‘users’, and from ‘consumers’ to ‘producers’

This highlights the increasing power that contemporary audiences now have with media texts, and relates to theory I studied in first year regarding fandom, user-generated content and authorship. This shift also relates to a theory unit I have recently studied, Media and History. It highlight the importance of exploring history, as in this case it helps our understandings of contemporary theory debates regarding audiences.

From this, I feel it is extremely important to continuously engage with my target audience throughout the development of my interactive piece. For my piece to be successful, it needs to appeal to its audience and as Gray (2010, p.166) says

‘a text only becomes a text, only gains social meaning and relevance, at the point that it comes alive with its audience.’

I aim to do this by regularly including the audience within the production of the piece in order to gain ideas and useful feedback. As well as making the final piece easy for all individuals to actively interact with.

References:

Gray, J, 2010. Show Sold Separately: Promos, Spoilers, and Other Media Paratexts. New York and London: New York University Press.

Jenkins, H, 2006. Fans, Bloggers and Gamers: Exploring Participatory Culture. London: New York University Press.

Lister, M, Dovey, J, Giddings, S, Grant, I, and Kelly, K, 2003. New Media: A Critical Introduction [online]. 2nd ed. London and New York: Routledge.

Macek, J, 2013. More than a desire for text: Online participation and the social curation of content. In: Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies [online], 19(3), 295-302.

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