Convergence Culture (Henry Jenkins)

Convergence Culture (Henry Jenkins)

Convergence Culture-Henry Jenkins Henry Jenkins, an MIT Professor, wrote the book Convergence Culture about trends in technology as well as participatory culture, which is one of the things he is best known for. In the book, he has two main arguments: the first one is about participatory culture and the tendency of media creations to receive much more audience participation than ever before. Sometimes the attention is more like an “interactive form of storytelling. ”

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The second argument is about the phenomenon of a franchise that impacts a range of delivery methods. These two trends go hand in hand and it is almost impossible to look at them separately, but Jenkins effectively examines both in depth. As Jenkins describes in his book Convergence Culture, there is a phenomenon that is beginning to occur in today’s technology-based society. He describes this as the “black box fallacy;” having all kinds of “boxes” in his living room from all different types of game systems and TV accessories.

I can relate to this because my roommate and I have an Xbox, PS2,Nintendo 64, Nintendo DS, VCR, DVD player, along with an entire entertainment center full of games and movies…and the list goes on. It seems that as soon as one new piece of technology becomes available and it is purchased by consumers that it is no time at all before the newer and better “new thing” comes out, causing this accumulation of boxes to pile up. However, there is one piece of technology these days that is attempting to combine many of these boxes into one mini-machine: the cell phone.

My father has an iPhone, my stepmother a Blackberry, and myself an internet-capable Samsung Propel. Being a computer programmer and web designer, m y father used to constantly be at his computer checking E-Mail, working from home, or playing the newest computer game. Now, however, when I go to visit, his face is instead stuck staring down at his iPhone while he downloads the newest app, checks the progress of a website he and his team are designing, and even E-Mailing his boss. When asked how often he uses his computer, he said he only really does at work now-a-days.

Since he has his iTunes account, E-Mail, Twitter account, and business calendar on his phone, not to mention the capability to watch all the episodes of House he’s missed lately, he hardly has a need for his laptop, VCR, and Xbox like he did before. I believe that society’s’ constant need for “at your fingertips,” and “right this second” information and capabilities is prompting technology producers to combine as many technological devices into one; one “Super Black Box,” if you will.


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