Week 2 Convergence What is it?

Introductory Videos

Visualising Web Data

User Generated Content

Convergence Henry Jenkins: From Convergence Culture 2006

By Convergence I mean the flow of content across multiple media platforms, the cooperation between multiple media industries, and the migratory behaviour of media audiences who will go almost anywhere in search of the kinds of entertainment experiences they want. Convergence is a word that manages to describe technological, industrial, cultural and social changes depending on whose speaking  and what they think they are talking about………This circulation of media content-across different media systems, competing media economies, and national borders- depends heavily on consumers active participation.” Convergence Culture Page 3

For Jenkins convergence is not primarily a technological phenomenon, it is, he believes, a cultural shift as people seek out new information and make connections among dispersed media content. Jenkins takes as his critical guide in exploring convergence a previous writer Sola Pool who wrote a book in 1983 called Technologies of Freedom. He also refers to Bruce Sterling and his Dead Media Project

You can also read the Dead Media Manifesto.

Lev Manovich

From Mass Consumption to Mass <Cultural> Production

“The explosion of user-created media content on the web (2005-) has unleashed a new media universe. On a practical level, this universe was made possible by free web platforms and inexpensive software tools which enable people to share their media and easily access media produced by others; rapidly fallen cost for professional-quality media capture devices such as HD video cameras; and addition of cameras and video capture to mobile phones. What is important, however, is that this new universe was not simply a scaled up version of 20th century media culture. Instead, we moved from media to social media.”
The Practice of Everyday Media Life March 2008

Download the article :Manovich social media

and Hybrid Forms

Another Key Person to be aware of is Marshal McLuhan. Whenever you are examining a piece of media it might be useful to apply and interrogate it by using Mcluhan’s Tetrad of media effects.

What is the Tetrad?

McLuhan designed the tetrad as a pedagogical tool, phrasing his laws as questions with which to consider any medium:

  • What does the medium enhance?
  • What does the medium make obsolete?
  • What does the medium retrieve that had been obsolesced earlier?
  • What does the medium flip into when pushed to extremes?

He used an image as an aide memoir:


A good interview that looks at the application of the Tetrad media effects.

Lets try and flesh these ideas about convergence by looking at some interesting examples that try to illustrate some of the ideas.

These are two of the key people that have talked and produced work around convergence are Lev Manovich and Henry Jenkins. Some useful starting points for Manovich can be found here. Click on the articles link and read the article titled : Understanding Hybrid Media 2007.

Some important starting points for Jenkins can be found here. A really useful, interesting, but slightly involved lecture where Jenkins talks at length about the notion of convergence can be found here. I recommend you listen to it a couple of times as it will give you a good grasp of what we will be tackling through the course of the module.


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