As I was doing Crawford's reading it made me think about what I consider to be interactivity. I guess for me, in its simplest terms, interactivity is a 'two-way street'. Crawford is correct in differentiating a difference between being affected by a novel or a film, as the novel will not respond to me crying all over its pages. A film might make me go through many emotions, but its outcome will also not be affected by the fact that I was angry about something that happened. It can however be a source of interactivity, allowing you to discuss the material with someone else. The internet as we know it is of course a fantastic platform for interactivity: from IRCs to message boards to Hangouts: the internet is fun because it is the most efficient platform to have a conversation with others. One medium that I find particularly interesting in this discussion is video games. As a user, it is immersive and involving as the player has to physically control the actions within the game. Within an online game, you are interacting with other people to complete/compete objectives. That, in my opinion, is definitely an interactive experience. But is it interactive when you are given control to change the outcome of a game? If there is a game that provides you with several options to handle a particularly objective, and the outcome of that decision will affect the remainder of the game, is that considered an interactive experience?? I have had several conversations with friends who do not play video games and highlighted video games as becoming more interactive in its storytelling, but as I think about it some more I am no longer sure if that actually counts as interactivity.
Brent Victor's rant was one that hit me quite hard. As much as I am glued to my android phone a lot of the times, I am one of those more 'old-fashioned' people who secretly misses a blackberry for typing and finds it pretty much impossible to write an email on a tablet because the tactile quality I feel with my fingers allows me to be much more efficient that touching or swiping a glass surface. While there is all this talk of the inevitable death of personal computers, I don't believe that the vision presented in the video Victor included will become a norm. It would be a waste of all the physical capabilities we have to reduce everything to a screen. It's still great to flick a book and hear the pages turn, touch a record and feel its uneven surface, or feel the vibration of the gaming controller as we play video games. Physically feeling what we are doing, I believe, is still a necessary human 'interaction'.
Maybe there is a reason why Microsoft's "Surface" (the table computer and the tablet" failed so miserably, after all?