Monday, February 28

Do blogs offer a plattform for the "ideal speech situation"? VI

4.) The weblog as a form of communication

To analyze the aspects that can influence the communication through weblogs, Van Dijk’s terminology will be used. Van Dijk (1999) formulates a framework to analyse new media based upon the many theories on media that have been used in the past.

4.1.) Interactivity
According to Van Dijk new media are characterized by a shift from traditionally one-sided communication [...] to two- and more-sided communication that is potentially diverse and rich through the integration of sound, text and images. [...] Van Dijk comes up with four levels of interactivity that indicate the quality of interaction. [...]The highest level can only be reached when the first three levels are met.

The first level of interactivity is the possibility of two- or more-sided communication. [...] An example of the first level is e-mail. Basically we could call this type of communication asynchronous.

The second level of interactivity is synchronicity. Van Dijk thinks that succession of action and reaction without time intervals generally will do good to the quality of interaction, though some new media, like e-mail are especially popular for its asynchronicity. Asynchronous media can be used on multiple times and locations and there is more time to reflect before responding.

The third level of interactivity is the extent of control by the interacting parties. [...] Conversations through the telephone can reach this third level.

The final level Van Dijk distinguishes are actions and reaction that include understanding of context and meaning. This is a level of interactivity that is limited to humans and animals with consciousness. According to Van Dijk this level still hasn’t been reached with interaction between people and machines or media.

The weblog [...] does meet the first level of interactivity[...] no matter how many tools are added to encourage communication between the author and readers, the communication through a blog will be asynchronous.


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