Ponderance

(May 2003 - March 2007.) Tama's thoughts on the blogosphere, podcasting, popular culture, digital media and citizen journalism posted from a laptop computer somewhere in Perth's isolated, miniature, urban jungle ...

Henry Jenkins Blogs!

Sunday, June 25, 2006
To my great delight, Henry Jenkins has just started his own blog. Anyone who has ever taken a course I've written or contributed to has probably heard of Henry Jenkins, as have all reputable media scholars since Henry Jenkins has been setting the agenda for years with books like Textual Poachers in 1992 where he chronicled the intersections of fandom, participatory culture in a way which presented the parameters for understanding how media production and participation has changed, and continues to change, in the digital era.

The impetus for the new blog is Jenkins' upcoming book Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide which sounds like it will be as groundbreaking and important as Textual Poachers was almost fifteen years ago. Here's a taste of the book, from the blog:
Convergence CultureReduced to its most core elements, this book is about the relationship between three concepts – media convergence, participatory culture, and collective intelligence....

By convergence, I mean the flow of content across multiple media platforms, the cooperation between multiple media industries, and the migratory behavior of media audiences who would go almost anywhere in search of the kinds of entertainment experiences they wanted. Convergence is a word that manages to describe technological, industrial, cultural, and social changes, depending on who’s speaking and what they think they are talking about. In the world of media convergence, every important story gets told, every brand gets sold, every consumer gets courted across multiple media platforms. Right now, convergence culture is getting defined top-down by decisions being made in corporate boardrooms and bottom-up by decisions made in teenagers' bedrooms. It is shaped by the desires of media conglomerates to expand their empires across multiple platforms and by the desires of consumers to have the media they want where they want it, when they want it, and in the format they want....

Right now, convergence culture is getting defined top-down by decisions being made in corporate boardrooms and bottom-up by decisions made in teenagers' bedrooms. It is shaped by the desires of media conglomerates to expand their empires across multiple platforms and by the desires of consumers to have the media they want where they want it, when they want it, and in the format they want....

This circulation of media content – across different media systems, competing media economies, and national borders – depends heavily on the active participation of the consumer. I will argue here against the idea that convergence can be understood primarily as a technological process – the bringing together of multiple media functions within the same gadgets and devices. Instead, I want to argue that convergence represents a shift in cultural logic, whereby consumers are encouraged to seek out new information and make connections between dispersed media content. The term, participatory culture, is intended to contrast with older notions of media spectatorship. In this emerging media system, what might traditionally be understood as media producers and consumers are transformed into participants who are expected to interact with each other according to a new set of rules which none of us fully understands. Convergence does not occur through media appliances – however sophisticated they may become. Convergence occurs within the brains of individual consumers. Yet, each of us constructs our own personal mythology from bits and fragments of information we have extracted from the ongoing flow of media around us and transformed into resources through which we make sense of our everyday lives.

In a culture which some have described according to information overload, it is impossible for any one of us to hold all of the relevant pieces of information in our heads at the same time. Because there is more information out there on any given topic than we can store in our heads, there is an added incentive for us to talk amongst ourselves about the media we consume. This conversation creates buzz and accelerates the circulation of media content Consumption has become a collective process and that’s what I mean in this book by collective intelligence. None of us can know everything; each of us knows something; we can put the pieces together if we pool our resources and combine our skills.... Collective intelligence can be seen as an alternative source of media power. We are learning how to use that power through our day to day interactions within convergence culture. Right now, we are mostly using collective power through our recreational life, but it has implications at all levels of our culture. In this book, I will explore how the play of collective meaning-making within popular culture is starting to change the ways religion, education, law, politics, advertising, and even the military operate.


Fans, Bloggers and GamersExciting stuff! I suspect Convergence Culture will finds itself as a core textbook on courses across media studies, communications studies, culture studies and beyond. Also worth looking out for is Fans, Bloggers and Gamers: Exploring Participatory Culture which collects a number of Henry Jenkins' occasional essays across the last decade. The books are due for a US release in August and September and I'll be getting them as soon as they're available and in the meanwhile will be enjoy the regularly blogged thoughts of one of the media scholars who has really inspired my own writing and teaching.

[Via Boing Boing]
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1 Comments:

At 6/27/2006 12:57:00 pm, Blogger Malnurtured Snay said...

That book looks interesting (even if just for the Stormtrooper on the cover). I'll certainly have to keep an eye out for it myself.

 

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