Convergence Culture / Jenkins


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PPT from a graduate course summarizes key points in the first half of Henry Jenkins's seminal book, Convergence Culture.

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Convergence Culture / Jenkins

  1. 1. Convergence Culture Part 1 MMC 6612 Sept. 3, 2008
  2. 2. Three Concepts Media convergence  ―… the one-to-one relationship that used to exist between a medium and its use is eroding‖ (Ithiel de Sola Pool) Participatory culture Collective intelligence (Pierre Lévy)
  3. 3. What is a medium? Two levels (Gitelman):  A medium is ―a technology that enables communication‖  A medium is a set of cultural practices or protocols Over time, a medium’s content and audience and use might all change ―Recorded sound is the medium. CDs, MP3 files, and 8-track cassettes are delivery technologies‖
  4. 4. Cultural Logic of Convergence Two trends  Consumers as producers: Lower costs for production and distribution; more channels; more sharing  Increased concentration of ownership of media properties, especially entertainment media Convergence is both top-down (corporate) and bottom-up (consumer)
  5. 5. Diffusion of Innovations A key concept in ―new media‖ research The idea of early adopters comes from ―diffusion theory‖ Book: Diffusion of Innovations, by Everett M. Rogers (5th ed., 2003) People in the case studies in Jenkins’s book: They are early adopters
  6. 6. Five types of “adopters” Diffusion of Innovations, Rogers
  7. 7. The “S” curve of diffusion Diffusion of Innovations, Rogers
  8. 8. Case 1: Survivor Spoilers An example of ―collective intelligence‖  Mutual production and exchange of knowledge  The group is more powerful than any individual Is this experience a training ground for political efficacy? Pierre Lévy: The networked space is a new way of living
  9. 9. Pierre Lévy: 4 Social Spaces “Earth”: The open spaces of wandering nomads “Territory”: Humans plant crops and claim land “Commodity”: Most recently, we have lived in the industrialized spaces, built with capital “Knowledge”: The new space, which is created by the pervasive digital network
  10. 10. Learning from ChillOne How do we know what we know? Why do we believe it to be true? In contesting the reliability of ChillOne’s information, the members of the group were deliberating (should we believe it? Based on what?) People processing information: In the end, knowledge is produced
  11. 11. Collective intelligence In past expert groups, having and hoarding the knowledge was the source of power In a collective intelligence, the activities of gathering new information and processing it into knowledge and sharing it – this is the whole point of the group Participating is what makes it fun ChillOne hoarded knowledge, spoiled the fun
  12. 12. Case 2: American Idol “Affective economics”: A reaction (by marketers) to the increased control viewers and consumers now have Groups that have economic value (buying power) become commodified — their interests become products Marketers cultivate an emotional attachment to the show and its characters (to deliberately create fans)
  13. 13.  The difference between the old Star Trek and the many generations of Power Rangers: A marketing strategy ―Expression‖: Time spent and viewer loyalty; also, the willingness to share with other viewers
  14. 14. Coca-Cola:An entertainment company Embed the sponsors in the content (American Idol); encourage ongoing relationships with the product in multiple media and formats Example / video This is not new (example 2) Difference between then and now: Engagement, participation
  15. 15. Case 3: ―Transmedia Storytelling‖
  16. 16. “Small pieces loosely joined” A collection of stories, or story fragments Non-redundant connected pieces in multiple media (e.g., the movies, the game) Jenkins calls these ―multiple texts‖ A work of sufficient complexity to generate its own community; a ―cultural attractor‖ The segments or separate texts must be self-contained, able to stand alone The deeper you go, the more you discover
  17. 17. ―Get It,‖ by Peter Bagge
  18. 18. With the Web …―… the interior structure of documents has changed, not just the way they are connected to one another. The Web has blown documents apart.‖ Preface, Small Pieces Loosely Joined, by Dave Weinberger (2002)
  19. 19. The Web …―… treats tightly bound volumes like a collection of ideas — none longer than can fit on a single screen —that the reader can consult in the order she or he wants, regardless of the author’s intentions.‖ Preface, Small Pieces Loosely Joined, by Dave Weinberger (2002)
  20. 20. The Web … ―… makes links beyond the document’s covers an integral part of every document. What once was literally a tightly bound entityhas been ripped into pieces and thrown into the air.‖ Preface, Small Pieces Loosely Joined, by Dave Weinberger (2002)
  21. 21. ―A completely furnished world‖ Made up of icons, symbols, that can be re-imagined by the audience (like a cult film, or an ancient legend) Comics, anime, and a video game expand the world of the Matrix Driving force: Strong economic motives This world is perfect for slow motion, rewind, replay and pause
  22. 22. Why do stories matter? Every culture constructs myths and legends to help it understand itself To preserve and extend the culture Stories enforce society’s norms, morals, customs Our mythic figures teach us right and wrong
  23. 23. The unicorn in Blade Runner  The author constructs a symbol that speaks volumes by itself  The unicorn explains nothing — it only raises more questions  Like the ―secrets‖ in Survivor (or in Lost), it generates controversy and conversation
  24. 24. “Additive Comprehension” Is all this too much for the casual consumer? Should an entertainment, a fiction, require one of Lévy’s knowledge communities to figure it out? Does the example of Survivor spoilers apply? Is a new form of collaborative entertainment something more people will enjoy?
  25. 25. Jenkins:―This transmedia impulse is at the heart of what I am calling convergence culture.‖
  26. 26. Convergence Culture Part 1Presentation by Mindy McAdams University of Florida 2008