Learning Objectives

Identify examples of convergence in modern life.Name the five forms of convergence established by Henry Jenkins.Recognize just how convergence is affecting society and also society.

You are watching: Describe convergence as you understand it and provide examples of its use in the home.

It’s vital to keep in mind that the implementation of new innovations doesn’t intend that the old ones sindicate vanish right into dusty museums. Today’s media consumers still watch tv, listen to radio, check out newsdocuments, and become immersed in movies. The difference is that it’s currently feasible to execute all those things with one device—be it an individual computer system or a smartphone—and with the Net. Such actions are enabled by media convergence, the process by which previously distinctive technologies pertained to share work and also sources. A cell phone that likewise takes pictures and also video is an instance of the convergence of digital photography, digital video, and also cellular telephone innovations. An excessive, and also presently missing, example of technical convergence would be the so-called black box, which would integrate all the features of formerly distinctive innovation and would be the device via which we’d get all our news, indevelopment, entertainment, and social interactivity.

Kinds of Convergence

But convergence isn’t simply limited to technology. Media philosopher Henry Jenkins suggests that convergence isn’t an finish result (as is the hypothetical babsence box), but rather a procedure that transforms just how media is both consumed and created. Jenkins breaks convergence dvery own into 5 categories:

Economic convergence occurs as soon as a company controls numerous assets or solutions within the exact same sector. For instance, in the entertainment market a solitary agency might have actually interests throughout many kind of kinds of media. For example, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation is connected in book publishing (HarperCollins), newsdocuments (New York Post, The Wall Street Journal), sports (Coloraexecute Rockies), broadcast television (Fox), cable tv (FX, National Geographic Channel), film (20th Century Fox), Internet (MySpace), and also many kind of other media.Organic convergence is what happens when someone is watching a television display virtual while extransforming text messages through a friend and likewise listening to music in the background—the “natural” outcome of a varied media human being.Technological convergence is the merging of technologies such as the ability to watch TV mirrors online on sites favor Hulu or to play video games on smart phones favor the Apple iPhone. When even more and also even more different kinds of media are transformed right into digital content, as Jenkins notes, “we expand also the potential relationships in between them and also enable them to circulation throughout platforms (Jenkins, 2001).”

Nigeria’s Nollywood produces more movies every year than any type of various other country besides India.

Paul Keller – nigerian VCDs at kwakoe – CC BY 2.0.

Effects of Convergence

Jenkins’s principle of organic convergence is possibly the the majority of telling. To many kind of human being, especially those who thrived up in a civilization conquered by so-referred to as old media, there is nothing organic about today’s media-dominated world. As a New York Times editorial recently opined, “Few objects on the world are farther rerelocated from nature—much less, say, prefer a rock or an insect—than a glass and stainmuch less steel smartphone (New York Times, 2010).” But contemporary Amerihave the right to society is plugged in as never before prior to, and also today’s high school students have never before well-known a people where the Net didn’t exist. Such a cultural sea adjust reasons a significant generation gap between those that flourished up via brand-new media and also those that didn’t.

A 2010 research by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that Americans aged 8 to 18 spend more than 7.5 hours through digital tools each day—and also, many thanks to multitasking, they’re able to pack an average of 11 hours of media content right into that 7.5 hrs (Lewin, 2010). These statistics highlight some of the aspects of the brand-new digital version of media consumption: participation and also multitasking. Today’s adolescents aren’t passively sitting in front of displays, quietly taking in information. Instead, they are sfinishing text messperiods to friends, linking news short articles on Facebook, commenting on YouTube videos, composing reviews of television episodes to article digital, and also generally engaging via the culture they consume. Convergence has additionally made multitasking much less complicated, as many type of gadgets enable individuals to surf the Web, listen to music, watch videos, play games, and also reply to e-mails on the exact same machine.

However, it’s still hard to predict exactly how media convergence and immersion are affecting culture, society, and individual brains. In his 2005 book Everypoint Bad Is Good for You, Stalso Johnchild argues that today’s tv and also video games are mentally stimulating, in that they pose a cognitive obstacle and invite active engagement and also difficulty resolving. Poking fun at alarmists who watch eextremely new modern technology as making kids stupider, Johnboy jokingly advises readers against the threats of book reading: It “chronically understimulates the senses” and is “tragically isolating.” Even worse, books “follow a fixed direct route. You can’t control their narratives in any kind of fashion—you sindicate sit back and also have the story dictated to you…. This dangers instilling a basic passivity in our kids, making them feel as though they’re powermuch less to change their scenarios. Reading is not an energetic, participatory process; it’s a submissive one (Johnson, 2005).”

A 2010 book by Nicholas Carr, The Shallows: What the Web Is Doing to Our Brains is more pessimistic. Carr concerns that the huge variety of interconnected indevelopment accessible with the Internet is eroding attention spans and also making contemporary minds distracted and much less capable of deep, thoughtful engagement through facility principles and debates. “Once I was a scuba diver in a sea of words,” Carr shows ruecompletely. “Now I zip alengthy the surface prefer a guy on a Jet Ski (Carr, 2010).” Carr cites neuroscience studies showing that when people attempt to do two points at once, they offer much less attention to each and also perdevelop the jobs less carefully. In other words, multitasking provides us execute a greater variety of points poorly. Whatever before the ultimate cognitive, social, or technical results, convergence is transforming the way we relate to media today.

Video Killed the Radio Star: Convergence Kills Off Obsolete Technology—or Does It?

When was the last time you offered a rotating phone? How around a street-side pay phone? Or a library’s card catalog? When you require brief, factual indevelopment, once was the last time you got to for a volume of Encyclopedia Britannica? Odds are it’s been a while. All of these behavior, formerly widespread components of everyday life, have been rendered fundamentally obsolete with the progression of convergence.

But convergence hasn’t erased old technologies; instead, it may have just altered the way we usage them. Take cassette tapes and Polaroid film, for example. Influential musician Thurston Moore of the band also Sonic Youth newly claimed that he only lis10s to music on cassette. Polaroid Corporation, creators of the once-famous instant-film camperiods, was thrust out of company by digital photography in 2008, just to be revived 2 years later—with pop star Lady Gaga as the brand’s creative director. Several Apple iPhone apps enable customers to apply effects to photos to make them look more prefer a Polaroid photo.

Cassettes, Polaroid camperiods, and various other seemingly obsolete technologies have actually been able to thrive—albeit in niche markets—both despite and also because of Net culture. Instead of being slick and also digitized, cassette tapes and Polaroid photos are physical objects that are made more obtainable and also more human, according to enthusiasts, because of their flaws. “I think there’s a group of people—fans and artists alike—out tbelow to whom music is more than simply a file on your computer, even more than simply a folder of MP3s,” claims Brad Rose, founder of a Tulsa, Oklahoma-based cassette label (Hogan, 2010). The distinctive Polaroid look—resulted in by unalso shade saturation, underadvance or overdevelopment, or simply day-to-day atmospheric effects on the developing photograph—is emphatically analog. In an age of high resolution, portable printers, and also video camera phones, the Polaroid’s appeal to some has something to do via ideas of nostalgia and also authenticity. Convergence has actually transdeveloped that uses these media and for what purposes, yet it hasn’t got rid of these media.

Key Takeaways

Twenty-initially century media society is increasingly marked by convergence, or the coming together of previously distinctive technologies, as in a cell phone that likewise enables customers to take video and also inspect e-mail.Media philosopher Henry Jenkins identifies the 5 kinds of convergence as the following:Economic convergence is when a solitary firm has actually interests across many kinds of media.Organic convergence is multimedia multitasking, or the herbal outcome of a diverse media human being.Cultural convergence is once stories flow across several kinds of media platdevelops and when readers or viewers deserve to comment on, alter, or otherwise talk earlier to society.Global convergence is as soon as geographically distant cultures are able to influence one another.Technological convergence is once various kinds of innovation merge. The the majority of too much instance of technical convergence would be one machine that managed eextremely media duty.The jury is still out on exactly how these different kinds of convergence will certainly affect people on an individual and societal level. Some theorists believe that convergence and new-media modern technologies make human being smarter by requiring them to make decisions and also interact through the media they’re consuming; others are afraid the digital age is giving us accessibility to even more information but leaving us shalreduced.


Resee the philosophies of Henry Jenkins, Stalso Johnkid, and also Nicholas Carr. Then, answer the following questions. Each response must be a minimum of one paragraph.

Define convergence as it relates to mass media and provide some examples of convergence you’ve observed in your life.Describe the 5 kinds of convergence determined by Henry Jenkins and carry out an example of each kind that you’ve listed in your very own experience.How execute Stalso Johnboy and Nicholas Carr think convergence is affecting society and also society? Whose debate execute you uncover even more compelling and also why?


Carr, Nicholas The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains (New York: Norton, 2010).

Hogan, Marc. “This Is Not a Mixtape,” Pitchfork, February 22, 2010, http://pitchfork.com/features/articles/7764-this-is-not-a-mixtape/2/.

Jenkins, Henry. “Convergence? I Diverge,” Technology Review, June 2001, 93.

Johnboy, Stalso Everything Bad Is Good for You (Riverhead, NY: Riverhead Books, 2005).

See more: Word For Standing Up For What You Believe In G Up For What You Believe In?

White, Livingston A. “Reconsidering Cultural Imperialism Theory,” TBS Journal 6 (2001), http://www.tbsjournal.com/Archives/Spring01/white.html.