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.

The Cultural Practice of Blogging in the US

After reading Onur Kabadayi’s “Blogging is Dead, Long Live Blogging” I was tempted to say that the disappearance of casual blogs was a good thing. How could the decline of casual bloggers be a good thing? Some argue that it is better for the media and marketing but I do not agree.

Casual bloggers brought to the forefront various perceptions that could be vital to marketers. The reduction in casual blogging in the US inevitably leaves marketers lacking in content that can be used in identifying the opinions of the everyday individual. Sure, more skilled writers may increase the quality of the “blogosphere” but quantity is more essential in deriving whether the practice is still useful. Why would I say quantity is more essential?

Simply put, if the blogosphere lacks casual bloggers voicing their opinions then we are left with a medium which is only going to have information that is overseen by editors, marketing executives, and news media. This leaves us with nothing more than blogs created that recycle the opinions of a few. Unlike Facebook or Twitter where users post short updates, blogging allows for more in-depth opinion sharing in the market place of ideas by citizen journalists.

Retrieved from http://www.flickr.com
By Rogers Cadenhead

Citizen journalism is necessary in the marketplace of ideas. Everyday individuals writing within the blogosphere can provide marketers and media with information to better address what everyday people want to hear and can be a vital asset to PR professionals. This leads me to also say that I do not always agree that the label “citizen journalism” is ideal when it relates to some industry-specific Web journals.

This label may be correct when a “citizen journalist” is writing from their own point of view but not when it becomes an industry run Web journal. After all, most industry run Web journals institute the use of “guest bloggers” and this takes away the citizen attribute. What does this mean for the future of this digital composition?

The future of blogging surely will be geared more toward business, industry, and media practices. However, as this becomes increasing obvious to the everyday individual one can assume that the casual blogger will once again become very prominent in the cultural practice of Web journals.