Convergence Culture

Communication between individuals constitutes a lot of what makes us unique. Mark Deuze explores participatory culture and media convergence in his journal Convergence Culture in the Creative Industries. Deuze states that the emergence of a media environment where we are not only consuming, but also our whole online behaviour involves participation, co-creation and collaboration to some degree. Engaging with content through social networks can be defined as citizen journalism. When commenting on a YouTube video or sharing something on Facebook, you are propelling the flow within this online ecosystem. A clip by Henry Jenkins explores convergence culture as a world where stories, sounds, brands, images and relationships plays itself out across the maximum number of media channels. For those of us born in the digital age, this technological shift is one that we can adjust to and advance with little effort required. We are so used to doing everything instantaneously, at the click of a button. One of the most significant themes of media convergence is the ability to send more information further and faster.

Technology is so intertwined with our lifestyles now that we consider traditional forms of media as being “old” and useless on some levels. Why go out and buy a newspaper when I can read it on a website? Why rent a DVD when I can stream it online? Cartoons such as South Park often reference technological convergence in a humorous way. South Park’s episode A Nightmare on Facetime (Season 16, Episode 12) mocks physical media distribution when the character Randy buys a Blockbuster video store and is certain it’s going to bring his family into wealth. ’We’re going to have customers up our ass!’ Randy is proven wrong while the store poses as a “haunted” and “creepy” place that everyone avoids. This was a clever imitation addressing the death of DVD’s and video rental stores.  While Randy’s son Stan is stuck at the Blockbuster with his family, he is still present with his friends trick-or-treating via Facetime on his iPad. The use of the iPad was quite witty – throughout the episode Stan is constantly streaming videos and chatting to his friends, which really contrasted well with the eerie feel of the DVD store. While he was physically stuck in one place, he was also using multiple media platforms and entering cyberspace. South Park really utilised the relevance of convergence culture and this idea of an online environment.




4 thoughts on “Convergence Culture

  1. Such a fantastic episode. I agree with your comments that “Technology is so intertwined with our lifestyles now that we consider traditional forms of media as being “old” however I disagree that traditional forms of media are considered useless. Every medium has a place in society and it is the consumers choice as to how they interact with it. Whether it be DJ’s using vinyl or even street arts using the humble floppy disk ( to create art. History tells us that every medium has a chance to be rejuvenated itself it is just up to the individuals to use their creative nature to breathe new life into the medium.

  2. Nice post! The video is a really funny way to show how the way we consume entertainment has changed. I think it is also really important to note that not only are we consuming content differently, but also can take part in its production. Here is an interesting perspective of the huge impact YouTube has had, it helps support your argument as well as discuss other aspects of YouTube’s role in convergence:

  3. Living in a convergent world has its advantages; we can talk to anyone at anytime and anywhere, buy anything we want, see and hear anything we feel like and say and broadcast anything we feel or create. Unfortunately all this wonderful freedom means we are always connected. Convergence encourages attachment to the network and eventually a dependency develops which is hard to break. For some it is an addiction not a convenience and many don’t realise they are hooked.

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