| At the Corner of Technology and Culture

Convergence Culture

Convergence Culture, by Henry Jenkins, is next on my list of books to read. According to his blog, it’s about the relationship between media convergence, participatory culture, and collective intelligence” (More below)

Now, I haven’t read the book yet, but it sounds intuitively intriguing. Still, just today, I was thinking that we are becoming a very skillful culture at relational thinking, and at creating the kinds of technologies and tools that foster links, relations and so on (whether those are links between people, things, or concepts). And yet it feels like an astonishingly unoriginal time. I don’t mean just at the pop culture level of rehashed fashion, and copycat television. I mean, when was the last time you read a book, say, that felt like an actual bracingly original thought? As much as I’m looking forward to reading Convergence Culture, for instance, and as smart as it sounds, it’s a book whose thesis is about a new way of conceiving of relationships between things. What I wonder is, in spite of the benefits of all these cool collective tools, whether we’re losing something important along the way.

OK, here’s (some of) the rest of Jenkins’ description:

“By convergence, I mean the flow of content across multiple media platforms, the cooperation between multiple media industries, and the migratory behavior of media audiences who would go almost anywhere in search of the kinds of entertainment experiences they wanted. Convergence is a word that manages to describe technological, industrial, cultural, and social changes, depending on who’s speaking and what they think they are talking about. In the world of media convergence, every important story gets told, every brand gets sold, every consumer gets courted across multiple media platforms. Right now, convergence culture is getting defined top-down by decisions being made in corporate boardrooms and bottom-up by decisions made in teenagers’ bedrooms. It is shaped by the desires of media conglomerates to expand their empires across multiple platforms and by the desires of consumers to have the media they want where they want it, when they want it, and in the format they want….”

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There are 1 Comments to "Convergence Culture"

  • hugh says:

    Part of the terribleness of the media world we live in now is that it inspires such intellectual laziness. It’s too easy. You gloss over an interesting idea, get the “feel” for it, and then you’re gone on to the next post, next page, next link, next youtube vid. or to write your own reflections.

    our relationship to knowledge is becoming so disposable … because it’s going to be there later, at our fingertips, a google-search away for when we have more time to read in detail. The collective aspect just makes this worse maybe: why think about this fully, I’ll just post the link and see who else can do the thinking for me. Sometimes that’s great – like when you get involved in a deep internet conversation/discussion on a topic, and hash it through in different directions. But there’s something missing.

    I don’t know about creativity … but i feel we are in a deeply conservative time. maybe we are just too well-fed and prosperous for challenging art now? I’m not sure… but then again, how *often* do we expect a really challenging book, or film to come along? surely not every year?

    ps, here’s some great art:

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