Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide
Henry Jenkins at Authors@Google (video)
Winner of the 2007 Society for Cinema and Media Studies Katherine Singer Kovacs Book Award
2007 Choice Outstanding Academic Title
Convergence Culture maps a new territory: where old and new media intersect, where grassroots and corporate media collide, where the power of the media producer and the power of the consumer interact in unpredictable ways.
Henry Jenkins, one of America’s most respected media analysts, delves beneath the new media hype to uncover the important cultural transformations that are taking place as media converge. He takes us into the secret world of Survivor Spoilers, where avid internet users pool their knowledge to unearth the show’s secrets before they are revealed on the air. He introduces us to young Harry Potter fans who are writing their own Hogwarts tales while executives at Warner Brothers struggle for control of their franchise. He shows us how The Matrix has pushed transmedia storytelling to new levels, creating a fictional world where consumers track down bits of the story across multiple media channels.Jenkins argues that struggles over convergence will redefine the face of American popular culture. Industry leaders see opportunities to direct content across many channels to increase revenue and broaden markets. At the same time, consumers envision a liberated public sphere, free of network controls, in a decentralized media environment. Sometimes corporate and grassroots efforts reinforce each other, creating closer, more rewarding relations between media producers and consumers. Sometimes these two forces are at war.
Jenkins provides a riveting introduction to the world where every story gets told and every brand gets sold across multiple media platforms. He explains the cultural shift that is occurring as consumers fight for control across disparate channels, changing the way we do business, elect our leaders, and educate our children.
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Youtube and grassroots ‘political’ parody
By Claudio Pires Franco
http://digitalcitizens.wordpress.com/2009/06/18/youtube-and-grassroots-political-parody/In his book Convergence Culture, Henry Jenkins defends that the Internet, and especially YouTube, have been used by ‘normal’ individuals to engage in debates around political issues.
This has most often been done in the form of parody, mostly of politicians, but also of civic/political issues. Jenkins thinks that humour plays an important role in engaging ‘normal’ citizens in civic/political debates.
Most people feel distant and alienated from formal politics with politicans adopting formal postures and rhetoric discourses that are far from grassroot level daily lives and conversations – maybe linked to social diffeentiation tactics described by Bourdieu?.
The Internet has allowed consumers and audiences to become producers, mixers and distributors. We use it mostly for fun / entertainment but are using some skills to touch issues in the political arena. And the way we’re doing it is especially through humour, what Jenkins terms ’serious fun’. See this ‘parody video’ posted on YouTube, the Snowman video, about climate change.
Politicans and mass-media broadcasters have often dismissed examples like this as ‘not serious enough’ for politics, but these videos have been watched by millions of people, have raised debate, have triggered chain reactions and further thought and debate about the serious issues they cover.
The Internet is just a medium, but one that opens production and distribution to people with access to it. In ways closer to ‘popular culture’ than politics, it seems that the way political debates / pressure are happening are tending more towards taking popular views into consideration, but only when there are enough numbers of people watching a video or Twittering about CNN’s low coverage of the Iranian elections.
So, is the Internet the answer to political disengagement? Not on its own, but with a dose of fun and humour, maybe more young people who are not engaged in other ways may find it worth having a go at touching civic / political issues – and at least have a laugh while doing it.
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