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Henry Jenkins. Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide. Abstract of a Book

Henry Jenkins. Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide. New York and London: New York University Press, 2006.

Abstract of a Book

There was a time when “each media had its own distinctive functions and markets, and each was regulated under different regimes” (Jenkins 10). Now, when all different means of media merge, things became different. That is the central thesis of Henry Jenkins’s book Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide. The book addresses the process called “convergence of modes” (Pool 23).

Convergence is the flow of content across multiple media platforms. Jenkins builds his book on the assumption that convergence is already influencing media culture. Basing on this assumption he tells about changes convergence brings to media production and consumption. Jenkins shows important cultural transformations that are taking place as media converge. He shows us Survivor Spoilers – fans who use Internet and their knowledge to reveal show’s secrets before they take place on the air. He introduces us to transmedia storytelling through The Matrix phenomenon – world where consumers trace the story through several media channels. He takes us into the world of Harry Potter fans who are inventing new stories about their heroes while Warner Brothers are preoccupied with controlling their franchises. He shows us how people influence political campaigns through the Internet.

According to Jenkins, the book is about the relationship between three concepts. Major concepts are: media convergence, participatory culture, and collective intelligence. Convergence means that now different media platforms: TV, newspapers, radio, books, cinema, mobile phone etc. can be interconnected representing certain media issues. They can supplement each other telling the story or help each other adding new ways of storytelling. Participatory culture is a new phenomenon in emerging media system. It means that the relationship between media producers and consumers changed in a way that they now are interacting with each other. By collective intelligence Henry Jenkins means the collective process of media content consumption and discussion.

Jenkins argues that convergence is changing popular culture. From one side directing content through several media platforms media makers can increase revenues. From the other side, consumers imagine free network controls. Sometimes interests of media makers and consumers interact, sometimes they oppose each other.

As for weaknesses and shortcomings, I think the notion of convergence would be more representative if the author took as example (and made one of his chapters) some Internet phenomenon as well (like Facebook, YouTube, blog culture etc.). It seems to me that he overlooked social networks and their importance in the process of convergence.

The major contribution Henry Jenkins did with this book, to my mind, is the fact that he helped to understand what media convergence is and its importance. Because of huge volume of information in the world today, it is very difficult to see the ways of non-traditional development of media industry. Henry Jenkins shows all-known things from new perspective – everybody is familiar with “Survivor”, “Harry Potter” or “The Matrix”, but not everyone knows facts they resulted in – spoiling communities, transmedia storytelling etc. Henry Jenkins showed us what was “behind the curtain”. He made conclusions on how to work and consume in convergence times. Media producers should take into consideration the convergence phenomenon while making their products, as consumers now perceive everything differently. Henry Jenkins does not give advice on how to change the production, but the material of the book will direct media producers on what to do and what to change in new media era.


Works Cited

Jenkins, Henry. Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide. New York and London: New York University Press, 2006.

Pool, Ithiel de Sola. Technologies of Freedom: On Free Speech in an Electronic Age. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1983.

Category: Research | Added by: admin (2008-12-19) | Author: Shushanik
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