Week7 – Convergences

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As I read through the first article, I thought it to be a little boring, a little convoluted, and at times too detailed for my liking.  What I basically gathered from reading through the article however, was that it outlined the convergences of both old and new media from both former and current contemporary eras.  Indeed, the transition from newspapers to the internet is evident as demonstrated through our constant use of the latter.  Convergence, as was defined in the first reading was understood as ‘an ongoing process of series or intersections between different media systems, not a fixed relationship.’  What was interesting about the article was the question on the future of traditional media.  Television, radio and newspapers have revolutionised the world of media, to be precise, they were the forefront of the media before mass technologies including the internet took over, had it not been for these certain media, what we familiarise as ‘media’ today would not exist as we know it.  Evans and Wurster (2000) suggest in the article that digitisation is the catalyst to the separation of the information economy from the economy of things and of the informational chain of value from the physical value chain.  While this may be the case, I believe that while traditional modes of media are still continuing to exist, they will still uphold their position in the media industry.    Since the birth of the Internet, watching shows via the television are somewhat limited, particularly in the youths of this generation.  Speaking from experience, I know how pain-staking it feels waiting for the next weekly instalment of your favourite televisions show, which in my case at one time was Scrubs.  It got to a point where I realised that because here in Australia, we are behind by a few episodes, I could always log onto the internet to watch the episodes I had missed or was anxious to see.  By logging onto the net – I had access to shows that would be screened in a matter of weeks instead sitting on the verge of anxiousness waiting for ONE episode per week. 

The second reading, I found to be much more decipherable, as it provided clear illustration and examples that could be linked to the understanding of convergences.  I found that the article concentrated particularly, on the reality show American Idol which has become a successful franchise since it first premiered in 2002.  From what I’ve read, American Idol has reopened the concept of ‘convergences’ by allowing the audience to interact with the underlying themes present in the show.  Not only this but the convergences of the television and the use of the mobile phone/telephone for the use of voting for one’s favourite contestant.  Personally, I got over the American Idol hype, I hadn’t watched American Idol itself but the Australian version and from what I can remember, it caused a nationwide chain reaction of both religiously watching the show and voting via the phone, although I never really engaged in that ritual.    Prior to Idol, there had been many various reality tv shows that swept the nation including Survivor and Big Brother but many argue in the article that Idol was the first to converge the two medias.  What I also enjoyed reading was the part about Zappers, Casuals and Loyals because I was able to relate to all three.  Zappers, as the article defines them are people, who constantly flit through the dial, only watching snippets of each show while Loyals watch fewer hours of TV, only to ‘cherry pick’ their show and focus on that.  Casuals fall in between, only watching a particular series when they think they have nothing better to do.   Personally, I believe that Australians are more inclined to associate with all three roles, namely because we have very limited channels unlike such countries including America and the UK.  However as the internet offers a range of methods to watch unlimited episodes of a variety of shows many fall prey to the attractiveness of the offer due to its convenience and time-friendly methods.

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