Interactive Technologies: The Potential for Solidarity in Local and Global Networks

by Frances Ford Plude

Frances Forde Plude, Ph.D., earned her doctorate at Harvard University and studied satellite communications at MIT. She taught at the S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Syracuse University, and is currently associate professor of communication at Notre Dame College, Cleveland, Ohio. She is co-author of Communication Ethics and Global Change (Longman Press), and has contributed chapters to numerous works. As part of a planning and research project, Dr. Frances FordePlude recently met with the communications ministersof all 13 European Community nations.

This article originally appeared as a chapter in Communication Ethics and Global Change: National and International perspectives (Longman 1989).


How does the variable of communication interactivity offer potential changes to relationships among individuals, small groups, and nations at large? Computers are the printing presses of the twenty-first century. Whereas radio, television, and film are usually linear, many aspects of network interactivity find expression in new media technologies that are two way. This circumstance calls forth a new focus for communication analysts.

Exploring exactly what is meant in different situations by the concept of interaction is a high-priority task for communication scholars.(1)    Everett M. Rogers, 1986