Is there an author behind this text? A literary aesthetic driven approach to interactive media.

In this paper we employ a conceptual repertoire from philosophical hermeneutics and literary aesthetics to examine people’s expectations of and trust in interactive media. Drawing on data from two projects, first, with young professionals on their perceptions of the informational value of various media, and second, with youthful users of the online genre of social networking sites, we present findings on perceptions of authorial presence and constructions of an imagined author. We conclude that an (imagined) author plays a key role in media users’ ability to critically use interactive media and evaluate the relevance and reliability of media content, rather than functioning as an authoritative originator of the meaning. We argue that this is important not only for contemporary research in critical digital literacies, but also for the intrinsic importance of trust in any act of communicative engagement.

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