Communicative Informatics: An Active and Creative Audience Framework of Social Media

  • Linda M. Gallant Emerson College
  • Gloria M. Boone
Keywords: Social Media, Audience, Communication Theory, Textuality, Online Communities, Internet


Communicative informatics reflects the interactive complexity of web-based communication and a paradigm shift away from mass communication. Three discursive spheres (database and information systems, human computer interaction, and active audiences) work together to control online communication openness and its consequences for post-mass media society’s public common. This has implications for communication freedom, creativity, and constraints in an information-based society. Four propositions shed light on how online audience activity is encouraged by and imperative to corporate interests; how audience creativity can create, accept, or reject messages; how the online audience is monitored; and how online rhetoric can produce or inhibit public commons. Evidence shows that social media’s corporate interests can be at odds with online privacy and citizen communication. This tension is explored with a unique focus on rhetoric, argument, and the communication between audience members and Internet-based corporate media by way of digitized communication feedback loops.

Author Biography

Linda M. Gallant, Emerson College
Linda Gallant brings a disciplinary background in communication studies to burgeoning area of user experience design. Specifically, she investigates how New Media facilitate human communication by investigating Internet-based technologies as social artifacts. A central interest in her research and teaching is how a technology's design and development (information architecture, usability, and rhetorical strategies) impacts its social and cultural uses, whether these uses were intended or unintended by the technology's original engineers and designers. She is published in Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, Personal and Ubiquitous Computing, Qualitative Research Reports in Communication, First Monday, and e-Service Journal.