Week 6. Convergence Culture

Week 6:

“Convergence is taking place within the same appliances . . . within the same franchise . . . within the same company . . . within the brain of the consumer . . . and within the same fandom.” (Jenkins 2004)

 Media convergence, what is it?

Now we have an understanding of what is meant by the term ‘convergence’ how does this affect us? This ‘convergence culture’ is one that I have grown up with. Not in my primary school days but early high school was when I started to notice that things where changing. The Internet was available on computers without a blue cord to plug into it, we could access the Internet via a broadband connection, enabling us to access speeds that I had never experienced before and finally a few years on we could access the Internet on our phones.

Jump ahead about 9 years and I can access the Internet almost anywhere, anytime and on a multitude of devices. Just this morning I read a book on a tablet, therefore eliminating the need to go out to a shop, buy it, bring it home and have to find somewhere to put it. I still had to pay for it, but it was significantly cheaper as I didn’t have to pay for the extras that a print book has, such as printing costs and distribution costs.

Jenkins (2004) makes a point that ‘convergence does not occur through media appliances, however sophisticated they may become. Convergence occurs within the brains of individual consumers and through their social interactions with others.’

So what he is saying is that it isn’t just the fact that I can access the Internet on my phone that makes it convergence culture. It’s the fact that I can choose to do so, and then interact with my friends on Facebook, reach out to my Twitter followers to donate to a charity I am supporting, or just write meaningless nothings about what I did that day. With the hope someone will take the time to read it and interact with me online.

The convergence of technology itself happens so rapidly, during my school days I barely noticed the change, we used computers to do assignments and type up word documents. Facebook was non-existent in my little bubble until I reached year 12. So I was 18 when I got my Facebook page. But I was 13 when I got my first mobile phone. Little did I know that within a few years mobile technology would have come so far, so fast!

Seeing as technology convergence happens so dramatically quickly in some cases, who’s to say that in 10 years, the iPad will even be useful. The point and shoot digital camera came and went within a decade.

References: Jenkins, H. (2004) The Cultural Logic of Media Convergence, International Journal of Cultural Studies, 7/1, 33-43.

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5 responses to “Week 6. Convergence Culture

  1. Great insight and explanation of convergence. I also remember the days when a blue cord would stand between my computer and the Internet modem, and when we didn’t have the access or the portability of the Internet like we do today. Wow, how things have changed. Then to think there is our parents and grandparents who didn’t even have a computer, or the Internet, or functioning communication networks for that matter. Convergence is a really interesting term to discuss and look in to as it relates so much to our society today and shapes the way we interact and connect on a regular basis.

  2. This whole post actually scares me quite a bit.
    We may not quite be up to Marty Mcfly’s technology, but we have come pretty far and it all happened in the blink of an eye.
    I was roughly the same as you, I didn’t have a mobile until I was thirteen and I wasn’t interested in Facebook until seventeen.
    At the time, none of it made much sense and it wasn’t a big deal, but in retrospect, it has become such an essential part of my life.
    When did I let technology become such a big part of me?

  3. I recently sat on a jury panel and each day I would have to hand my phone and iPad in at the door and not be able to collect them until I was dismissed six hours later. There were two other Gen Yers on the panel and it was a little scary to see how useless we all were at solving problems, or even communicating our points of view without access to the internet. It’s embarrassing how reliant on our smart devices we have become.

  4. ‘The point and shoot camera came and went within a decade.’ I think this is a great point and with the way technology is constantly shifting who knows what piece of technology will be superseded. It will be interesting once our generation starts to become less in touch with updates and hearing us say ‘I remember back in my day all phones did were make calls, text, take photos, browse the web and play music!’

  5. Excellent post on convergence . . . . I agree, though, it’s so scary how quickly we’re “moving forward” (if you can even call it that). At one point I had a great digital camera, a phone and a computer – not to mention a gameboy – and it all seems to just be rolled into one 100g package with a touch screen and a load of gimmicks *cue iPhone*. All of the aforementioned things are quite literally, right now, sitting in my pocket. It’s great in terms of convenience, but it’s made all of the other objects I now have sitting in my room oblique, I could totally be a hipster and whip out the ‘ol gameboy, but that would just be stupid because I have near hundreds of apps on my phone with 10x better graphics.
    With social media now being mashed into our devices, it’s just further adding to the problem of youths being incapable of any normal social interaction – NO ONE TALKS! Sitting in a circle of friends, everyone is on their phone. This is a massive step backwards in terms of making friends and just general common courtesy.

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