Interactive digital media? What is it? Is there a problem with how some people think about interactive media in general? Short answer: yes; an explanation is in order.
Let’s start with something simpler: media.
For the purposes of this argument a medium will be defined as follows:
A unique collection of tools, techniques and materials used to relay information.
Others might use a different word for this, like form, type, sub-medium, etc. In the end the word does not matter, the concept does.
Lastly this is about artistic/entertainment media, not media used purely for functional purposes.
Examples of non-interactive media:
- Short story
- TV-series (episodic movie?)
- Theater play
It is important to understand that mediums can share many aspects, for instance novels and movies share story telling techniques, yet as a whole they are unique.
The technical difference between mediums can be very small. The difference between novel and short story is simply the length of the work, yet this small difference introduces many changes in how these mediums are made and for who. In a novel one can spend the first 20 pages establishing the main character and the setting, while a short story would have already wrapped up. The audiences for these mediums, while overlapping, are different.
Next a look into media categories.