Convergence Culture = Convenience Culture

For our generation, convergence has become normality in the technological sphere which could position us as either the cleverest generation or the laziest. Convenience is everything these days. It seems that greater the functionality of a device, the more fondly it is perceived. An example of this is the mobile phone. This device – coming from humble beginnings – now goes far beyond the ability to make a phone call. The reality is, these devices are now considered a central information hub for consumers.

I read a surprisingly relevant Tweet by Megan Fox (2012) this week which stated:

We live in a society where losing our phone is more dramatic than loosing our virginity

With the increasing convergence and convenience of technology, comes the increasing importance of these items, which go far beyond your average telephone call. Personally, my phone is my central mobile web surfing device, my music player, my internet banking device, my photo gallery, my USB stick, my camera, my calendar, my GPS system, my address book, my social media hub, and I occasionally use it for a phone call.

However technological devices are not only undergoing convergence, they are also facilitating it. This circulation of media content—across different media systems, competing media economies, and national borders—depends heavily on consumers’ active participation. Henry Jenkins (2006) makes an interesting point in stating that each of us constructs our own personal mythology from bits and fragments of information extracted from the media flow and transformed into resources through which we make sense of our everyday lives. When reading this, the first concept that came to mind was the Encoding/Decoding Model of Communication. Producers of content acting as the ‘sender’, encode a message with meaning, however the decoding of these meanings is highly influenced by the noise and the personal field of experience of the receiver. Having said this, the emergence of convergence has caused the distinctions between the sender and receiver in this model to become blurred with the surfacing of ‘produsers’ – the convergence of the ‘producers’ and ‘consumers’.

So having noted how convergence has heightened technological experience, increased importance of devices and shortened words; which side of the clever/lazy argument are you on?

Reference:

Deuze, M. (2007) Convergence culture in the creative industries, International Journal of Cultural Studies, 10/2, 243-263.

Jenkins, H. (2004) The Cultural Logic of Media Convergence, International Journal of Cultural Studies, 7/1, 33-43.

Jenkins, H. (2006). ‘Worship at the altar of convergence: A new paradigm for understanding media change’. In H. Jenkins, Convergence culture: Where old and new media collide (pp 1-24). New York: New York University Press. [URL:http://www.nyupress.org/webchapters/0814742815intro.pdf].

Megan Fox 2012, Twitter, accessed 31/08/2012, https://twitter.com/ReaIMeganFox.

Image: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-OSNVbkd29xE/TzECENQZd7I/AAAAAAAAABk/6RtMBRj5xiQ/s1600/iphone-converge.jpg

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10 thoughts on “Convergence Culture = Convenience Culture

  1. The funniest thing is Megan Fox’s inability to spell “losing” haha! Really well written post though, the growing convergent nature of today’s society as well as its technology and media is somewhat breathtaking given the rapid development of such fusion and evolution in how we conduct ourselves and interactions with technology. Makes sci-fi predictions of one technology that does everything from educate to feed us seem not so far-fetched!

  2. Everything you buy is multi-functional in this day and age and almost nothing is made for a specific purpose, nothing electrical anyway. Manufacturers have worked out that we like as many functions as possible no matter how insignificant and mundane they may be. New products being released are not simply a phone or only transmits TV signals, not at all. Now they can access the internet, download apps, record programs and even tell other electronically devices what to do without actually physically picking them up. I agree with your statement that such devices provide convenience, however is this the dawn of innovation or the beginning of a new age of laziness?

  3. I think convergence has allowed us access to more knowledge but I think our capability to retain that knowledge hasn’t changed. The turnover of information is far more efficient thanks to convergent technology and so I would say society is more clever than lazy.

  4. Yep, I’m jumping on the clever side as well. Though as you said, the consumer themselves play an important role. Convergence provides us the ability to multi-task, and do incredible things with our technology. However it’s up to the user to utilise this technology to be creative and productive. It’s up to us to determine whether convergence is the next innovative breakthrough for ‘produser’ activity, or just another result of our laziness.

  5. Definitely would say started out as clever and has forced us to be a bit lazy! Due to the great innovations of convergence we have all become a bit this way I think. Why would anyone go down to the bank, or wait for their computer to turn on when they can stay on the lounge and transfer their money via their smart phone? I know that is what I would do.

  6. I think technological convergence has aided a significant transformation between traditional media and new media. Convergence has pushed the boundaries of traditional media, in which the consumers now have the ability to create their own content, not merely take in what the companies want them to consume. This is just demonstrating how users are becoming produsers and are involved in a participatory culture. I would say that society has become more clever in determining information that is of relevance to them and the efficiency in using these platforms in different ways demonstrates how society is becoming more clever than lazy.

  7. Although I can see that this convergence may be seen as lazy, especially in the way if there is something I need I simply say “I’m sure there’s an app I can download” rather than physically going out and figuring it out for myself – an example being wanting to new to AUS to EURO conversion, I think convergence is more creative.
    Creative from the increase of produsers and citizen journalism. The fact that now all this convergence can allow us to take pictures, videos and tweet/status update from front line of possible news worthy stories and upload them on the spot is amazing.
    Technology convergence into a simple thing as our mobile phones makes me wonder what will happen next and what will be lost along the way.

  8. Such a great blog! I love your title, “convergence culture – convenient culture”, this is increasingly true in society today. The evolving convergent culture just tends to be so convenient. When we purchase phones today, they come pre installed with applications such as music, e-mail, web browsers, torches, and the list goes on. We have such great access on one little device, why would we search for more? I would say we sit on the fence between the clever and lazy. Clever in the sense we are capable of using and utilising these deices, but also lazy as its all there for us, we use less thought into finding something, it is just so accessible today and more so in the future.

  9. I like your statement about being “the cleverest generation or the laziest.” I think because we are so clever we have created things to make our lives easier, and in turn we have become lazier. I used the example of a mobile phone and computers in my blog as well, discussing how easier our lives have become because of such devices. This links directly to the notion you have discussed about technological devices. Love the Megan Fox quote, and as sad as it is, it’s true. Convergence has changed so dramatically that our culture has changed in such a way also. Great post!

  10. I love this quote “We live in a society where losing our phone is more dramatic than losing our virginity”. This is so true! With all the capabilities our phones are capable of today, they can contain so many details are aspects of our lives, that if lost would be a serious problem. I am completley for this idea of media convergence and advancing technoligies, but it is almost a bit scary how much we can rely on a single phone and how much they influence out lives.

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