Convergence And Remediation

Convergence And Remediation

Convergence: Various media forms coming together onto a single platform.

Coming together. This is the key to the notion of convergence.

A single device that is your TV, your phone, your internet, your world.
“The coming together of computing, telecommunications, and media in a digital environment.” - Pavlik & McIntosh

In the past, media communication was characterized by a specific delivery time or date, and it couldn’t be updated until the following day.
It was also characterized by distinct and separate forms such as print, television, and film. 

And when computers first arrived on the scene, they were unable to talk to each other.

This created a scenario where communication was very much one way, from the broadcaster or publisher to the audience. The power was very much with them.

There were some advantages to this scenario though.
Jimmy McGovern, a television writer in the UK, once told me that it was an amazing thing to write a program that appeared on TV in the evening and attracted an audience of 10 million across the country.
The next day, he would arrive at his local store and lots of people would be talking about the program.
That doesn’t happen today.

Five Types Of Convergence
1. Convergence of Form: Merging of various communications platforms (TV, Radio) onto a single platform (iPhone) via digital information. 

2. Convergence of Content: Content is linked to other content (Hyperlinks), No boundaries on the Web, everything is searchable / Searchability. 

3. Convergence of Audience and Content Producers: Passive audiences can become active if they choose, Interactivity, they can create / share / distribute content. 

4. Convergence of Media Organizations: Merging of companies / industries due to convergence of Form and Content. 

5. Convergence within Media Organizations: Media practioners have to be muti-skilled in many areas today. 

Remediation: The representation of one medium in another.
Example: TV shows use graphic overlays to simulate the ‘look’ and ‘feel’ of the internet, esp. News, lifestyle shows, some reality TV.

Reasons for Remediation:
- Old media are established, on many levels.
- People understand / are familiar with cinema, TV, the printed page.
- The desktop as a metaphor - the familiar experience of a physical desk as a working environment (trash bin, files, visual representation of the workspace).

Reasons for Convergence:
- Analog media cannot be transferred, copied or sent to another device without considerable information loss.
- But Digital media is lossless, any copies are identical to the original file.
- So we are now able to copy and transfer information, while still retaining the original quality.
- And we can distribute that information globally, at very little cost.

Implications for Convergence:
- Interactivity: Two-Way Communication
- Constant Updates: Timeliness of Information
- Instant Response: People can react accordingly
- However, this may cause unsettling, emotional effects on people - Frustration, Anxiety, Regret for Hasty Actions

Problems with Convergence:
Is this converged, interactive landscape a better way of getting media content such as news & information?

Are YouTube clips as accurate as BBC documentaries? Are they as trustworthy?
With a documentary, people spend months researching a topic, getting different points of view, and then shooting and editing taking up more months. The broadcaster often has a charter which requires them to be balanced, or to make explicit why they’re arguing a particular case.
On YouTube there are no editors, in the old meaning of the term.

Same with Wikipedia. How do you know whose opinion you’re getting?
How can you check the veracity and accuracy of web-based information?

Is SMS reducing our ability to spell?
Are our communications becoming fast, vague and imprecise because of speed and immediacy?

The mass media are converging, thanks to digitization, computers, and the internet.
However this doesn’t mean that the new communication technologies are spelling the end of mass media.
There is still a place for an event, such as a television program, that people want to watch all at the same time.
There is still a place for a daily news bulletin on the television, and its still the way most people get their news.
The new media are still comparatively new, when compared to centuries of novel writing, 100 years of filmmaking and 70 years of television.
That’s why today, a lot of what we see in NCT based media is a remediation of traditional media.
But convergence has allowed audiences to become active if they choose, and instantly. How this will change the world in the future remains to be seen…