Thursday, January 28, 2016

“Introduction: ‘Worship at the Altar of Convergence’”

Questions for “Introduction: ‘Worship at the Altar of Convergence’” to the book Convergence Culture by Henry Jenkins

1.     Why does convergence happen in the communication and media fields? What are the two conditions that lead to convergence?

Convergence occurs within the communication and media fields because when an idea enters these fields and is placed in the brains of consumers, it is passed through social interaction. As a result, one of the most important elements that lead to convergence is active participation by consumers. However, active participation cannot be the sole driving force behind convergence because consumption of the media is a collective process that requires collective intelligence between consumers.

2.     What are the three different kinds of digital convergence discussed in the article?

Convergence is the flow of content across multiple media platforms, the cooperation between multiple media industries, and the migrator behavior of media audiences who will go almost anywhere in search of the entertainment experiences they want. However, one of the three forms of digital convergence discussed in the article is the convergence of media into one mobile device — the smart phone. In addition, digital convergence includes game consoles that attempt to pack the media convergence in one package for the consumer. The final digital convergence is gamers and filmmakers attempting to work together to provide depth to ideas that could not be expressed within the confines of a typical 2-hour movie. These two mediums play off of each other’s strengths and possibilities to help provide more for the consumer. However, these creative powerhouses often struggle to work together in creating a steady timeline.  

3.     What cultural and social impacts does digital convergence have in addition to technological changes?

Digital convergence allows consumers to change culturally by sharing lives, memories, fantasies and desires across media channels. Family members have been given the opportunity to send “Good night. I love you” texts and instant messages when their close ones are across the world or in another part of the country. Socially, people are given the power to spread news fast and create homemade content that may or may not be destructive to careers. New apps like Snapchat — not mentioned in the article, but for example — have allowed consumers to quickly converge media and pass it along between friends and family. We can learn cultures that we don't know about. We have the power to voice our ideas — average person can make an impact. 

4.     Do the new media displace old media in the history of media development? Why or why not?

Historically, new media does not displace old media because once a medium is established as satisfying to a human demand, it continues to function within the larger system. For example, sound and theater may have changed the means by which it is distributed, but it has not disappeared. Theater and acting has extended into television and movies, but live theater still exists, there is just a plethora of ways to satisfy that dramatic fix. The book states, “Cinema did not kill theater. Television did not kill radio.” Old mediums are forced to coexist with emerging media. When a new medium emerges, the old medium’s functions and status shift.

5.     The convergence happens from both the top-down corporate level and bottom-up grassroots level. How do both levels change the traditional concept of media consumption?

Top-down corporate-drive process: Media companies are learning how to exploit the rapid flow of media content to expand markets and reinforce viewer commitments, thus increasing revenue opportunities.

Bottom-up consumer-driven process: Consumers are now learning how to exploit the use of different media technologies to bring the flow of media under their control and to interact with other consumers.

Both of these new developments have changed the traditional concept of media consumption by making new consumers active; they are migratory, showing a declining loyalty to networks or media; these consumers are more socially connected, and are now noisy and public.

Whereas, in the past, consumers were passive, stayed put, isolated, and were once silent and invisible.

6.     What does digital convergence in media indicate for communication and journalism professionals in the future?

Communication and journalism professionals will require the exploitation of several different mediums, including video, images, graphs, tweets, etc. Whereas journalism began as mostly words on a page, then entered into photo journalism, digital convergence provides those fields with the power and expectation to provide these media to consumers.

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