Specticipants – the New Prosumer

Message. Creator. Medium. Receivers.

Do these words sound familiar?  For any student of mass communications, I am certain these terms have been drilled into the back of their minds as the basis of communication theory. The varying models of communication taught in the academic setting include these terms to describe how messages are sent and received, how they travel, and how they are interpreted.

With the recent introduction of more interactive communications via the development of the Internet, however, the old models are becoming obsolete. A unidirectional model – a creator sends a message through a medium to a receiver – no longer encompass the wide breadth of media theory.

Specticipant. UIO.

How about these terms? Sound familiar? Probably not. It could be because I made them up.

With the current changes happening in communications, it is only natural that the terms, along with the model, will need to change to remain accurate. Take a look at the model below.


The Communication Solar System Model is an attempt to understand the changing role of the receiver (spectator), and their ability to now participate and react to the original communication. (Thus was born the term Specticipant.)  This is bidirectional model of communication, a more accurate and appropriate model that acknowledges the interactivity that the web provides.

Additionally, the UIOs, or Unidentified Interactive Objects, are meant to represent the aspects of the communications model that we are not yet aware of. Thus far, communication models have dealt mainly with human-to-human interaction. The inclusion of UIOs in this model recognize that the Internet has opened the door to other sources of information. These could arise from future technology driven sources, such as artificial intelligence.

This model is not generally accepted, nor is it taught in major institutions. In fact, I helped develop this model just today. It is, however, a step in the right direction, and who knows, maybe someday you’ll be explaining the Communication Solar System Model to a class full of wide-eyed communication students. I know I plan to.


~ by dparsonsmedia on September 23, 2009.

2 Responses to “Specticipants – the New Prosumer”

  1. Simply awesome!

  2. […] Year after year, Web-related terms highlight updates to Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. Vlog and webisode are new for 2009. In next year’s update? Who knows? I’m still rooting for specticipants. […]

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