“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.