What is Convergence Culture? By Christian Sheehan, Jess Wager and Samantha Rees
What does ‘Convergence Culture’ mean? It is the idea that things will ‘meld’ together into one. In terms of ‘Media Convergence’, it is the idea that eventually all forms of media will become one! A ‘Convergence Culture’ is the idea of media becoming a natural part of our culture, e.g. we get news from our mobile.
Henry Jenkins.. Henry Jenkins believes there is going to be a ‘Digital Renaissance’ – where this Media Convergence transforms our culture. He says “there will NEVER be one box controlling all media”. We are entering an era where media will be everywhere, and we will use all kinds of media in relation to one another; e.g. music on the computer while watching TV online. According to him, Old media will never die, as there will be different media, genre and delivery technologies of ‘old’ media. Recorded sound, radio drama and CDs/MP3s seems the same but all fall under a different one of those categories.
Henry Jenkins identifies 5 processes of Convergence…
Technological Convergence Technological convergence is when you take words, images and sounds and ‘transform’ them into speech and motion pictures etc. … It is taking pieces of all forms of media and digitalizing and combining them to make something new. Nicholas Negroponte labelled the transformation of “atoms to bits,” the digitization of all media content. (Henry Jenkins,T E C H N O L O G Y R E V I E W, J u n e 2 0 0 1 93)
Having two separate companies with different media expertise, combine to assist each other in broadening their media horizons.
An example of this would be AOL Time Warner. Combined they now control aspects in film, television, books, games, the Web, music, real estate and countless other sectors.
Economic benefit would result from this convergence as they have more media platforms to generate income from.
However, is it necessarily a positive when you have one large corporation controlling multiple media platforms as opposed to many well know singular corporations?
Social or Organic Convergence: Organic convergence is basically another term for media stacking. This is when you use more than one form of media simultaneously. For example, you could be watching T.V whilst typing an email on your computer while listening to music through speakers etc. … This is a common occurrence in late teens to young adults as it is seen as more socially acceptable.
Cultural Convergence Allows for participation from audience and encourages them to get involved and feel like they have more control in what they are consuming. An example of this would be programmes such as x factor and I’m a celebrity … as they include the viewers opinion to direct the development of the show. It is said that ‘storytellers’ use multiple media platforms to communicate with the audience in a way that is most suited to them.
With media in circulation all over the world. The audiences are able to experience factors from many different countries and cultures.
This helps keep the industry up to date and realistic.
By taking influences from many different cultures, media can appeal more broadly from just the origins.
By having the influences so easily accessible (i.e. via cinema) it could be used as an educational device if used appropriately.