What is Convergence Culture?

Henry Jenkins, author of “Convergence Culture” (2006) defines convergence culture as “where old and new media collide, where grassroots and corporate media intersect, where the power of the media producer and the power of the media consumer interact in unpredictable ways.”

Computers, cell phones, and the Internet encourage almost limitless communication providing opportunities for a new cultural experience. Convergence culture is representative of a cultural shift where consumers encourage information and connections dispersed among various media platforms. The result is participatory culture. No longer can the consumer be described as simply a passive spectator, but rather a participant who interact with media producers. When consumers take information from the media and use it for social interactions with other consumers then an incentive is built to continuously talk about the media resulting in collective intelligence. French cyber-theorist, Pierre Lévy is credited with coining the term collective intelligence. Conversations amongst consumers are a collective process valued by media industries.

Retrieved from NBC.com
Retrieved from NBC.com

Media industries gain more power by using these conversations for advertising purposes and to build their fan base. This has changed the way media is produced and the way it is consumed.

One example of convergence culture between the television industry and consumers is the NBC app. In this app a consumer is able to further their viewing participation. Take for instance the NBC’s show Grimm. Viewers are able to visit the “spice shop” and uncover secrets. By clicking on highlighted items details about objects used in the show are revealed to entice viewers. Viewers can also tour the Grimm set. You can even view creature profiles and explore Nick’s books. This encourages fans to talk and predict what will happen in the upcoming shows on their fandom Sites. The feedback on such Sites allows for producers to understand their audience and thus construct future shows   to keep their audience coming back for more.

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