Passive Media has been around for centuries and includes all of the print media; your newspapers, magazines, and books are some of the biggest examples. What makes it “passive” is the fact that the information only flows in a single direction. You consume the media by reading the content, but it does not actively require you to engage with it like other types of media.
Because of this, the radio can sometimes be considered a form of Passive Media as well, though it can be debated. This is because you, for the most part, can get away with passively listening, unless it is a talk show that prompts audience engagement.
Active Media, on the other hand, is characterized by the fact that it requires user interaction. This is where a lot of the newer media falls in as any consumed via a screen can be considered Active Media. This however, can refer to podcasting, any form of video content (YouTube) and other similar examples, as it actively engages the audience in either long form or short form engagement.
When it comes to interactive media, think the Internet. Just as the name implies, Interactive Media is a kind of media that encourages not just engagement, but active participation. This is the kind of content you see online all the time, telling you to “Click Here!” and incorporates a mix of both Passive and Active Media to help get a point across to users.
Interactive Media is a very popular form of advertisement these days, as a company can have users interact with ads as a means of getting revenue, without anything having to actually be purchased.
Finally, there is supra-active Media. Millennials are likely most familiar with Supra-active Media, as it is Interactive Media, but taken to the next level. In other words, this is where multiplayer or Massive Multiplayer Online (MMO) games come in- not only are users actively engaging and interacting with the media, but they are also interacting with other people.
This kind of media is constantly changing as it learns your reactions and interests. In some ways, this could mean the Internet as a whole could not just be seen as Interactive, but Supra-active Media since the more you Interact with it, the more it learns what you like and do not like.
Regardless of your preferred media type, you are surrounded by all four types everywhere you go. In many cases, they may play a vital role in your day-to-day life and interactions. Consider your levels of engagement and just how these types of medias affect your everyday life.