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We Media Democracy and Convergence

jeremy | Wednesday May 12, 2010

Categories: A Level, AQA A Level, AQA A2, AQA AS, OCR A Level, OCR A2, OCR AS, Key Concepts, New Media, Convergence, Digital Media, We Media, Other Topics

The catch word for the digital world of new media is convergence. Convergence is the coming together of everything digital.

Definition

Any digital media can be transmitted by any suitable digital medium, such as a wifi broadband connection or mobile phone, so that all communications, text, audio, graphics, video, and broadcasting can be accessed instantly.

The iPhone, Blackberry or computer becomes a two-way communications module with access to the internet, email, social networking sites, TV channels, films, radio, and the whole digital community of the internet.

The rise of the digital revolution led people to assume that the invention of new media was going to take over the existence of old media, therefore providing ‘convergence’ with a more specific and powerful meaning. However, some theorists such as George Gilder disagree with this view, stating:

“The computer industry is converging with the television industry in the same sense that the automobile converged with the horse, the TV converged with the nickelodeon, the word-processing program converged with the typewriter, the CAD program converged with the drafting board, and digital desktop publishing converged with the linotype machine and the letterpress? (quoted by Henry Jenkins: Convergence Culture, New York University Press 2008).

I think Gilder means that new communications media does the same things as old communications media only using new technology. Well, yes and no.

Certainly old media has not gone away; we still watch on average over 4 hours a week of broadcast television; we still write and post letters although we write many less letters than we used to; we still make ordinary telephone calls; we still use telephone directories and we still read books and go to libraries.

In fact we are buying more books than before new media arrived.  What has happened is that we are using and interacting with both types of media.

We sit on the sofa and watch...


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