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September 24, 2007

Hinterland Diary: Convergence Culture

John Stoehr

Mass media meets mini media . . .

What's Converging? In the twentieth century, mass media played a dominant role in controlling the flow of information and shaping popular culture. These media are now concentrated in the hands of a few mega-corporations. Time Warner, for example, owns film companies, Internet services, TV networks, cable systems, and publishing houses. If one of its media properties can capture popular interest across several of these channels, it's a big win for the corporation. That's one type of media convergence.

Another type of convergence is driven by consumers. Using readily available software and the Web, the average Joe or Josephine can now produce and distribute content widely. You no longer need a printing press to get your message out or a studio to make a video. As fans use media to participate more fully in fictional worlds (such as Star Wars) or work together to solve a puzzle (such as figuring out in advance Survivor's "final four"), they cease to be passive spectators. They become members of online communities, where they can share their knowledge and creativity and get meaningful feedback.

From "Media Is Everywhere! Welcome to the Age of Convergence" by Robyn Fizz.

Posted by John Stoehr at September 24, 2007 2:44 PM