20 in 1 and the ‘Prosumer’

“By convergence, I mean the flow of content across multiple media platforms.” This is Henry Jenkins famous definition of convergence, at first I found it a bit of a confusing process to wrap my head around but with the example that has been used to death, smart phones, it is a whole lot easier to understand. Jenkins gives us a scenario where he wanted to buy a cell phone just to make phone calls, but got laughed at because these single functioned kinds of phones no longer exist. Buy a cell phone today and you’re buying internet, an mp3 player, a camera, a video camera, a GPS and the list goes on, this is the ultimate and easiest example of the process of convergence.

The change of technologies comes with a change in the behaviours of audiences. Media technologies allow consumers to be enabled and active with the way content is distributed. Consumers are moving from just observing content to producing it as well and using it to interact with other users.  So many websites thrive on the users producing the content, for example Facebook; without all the Facebook users updating us on their lives and essentially producing the content for Facebook there would otherwise be nothing on the site. Same goes with Reddit, YouTube, Twitter, WordPress and countless other social media sites.

Consumers today are empowered as we have a voice to participate and an active engagement in so many sites and technologies. Consumers have the power to influence, remix, create and share, meaning they are no longer just passive observers, which has made the line between consuming and producing to fade away as media culture becomes increasingly configurable.

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