Convergence

Convergence, or more specifically “Media Convergence” is a term frequently associated with scholar Henry Jenkins:

Jenkins describes his use of the term this way:

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. (link)

You can read more about Jenkins’ take on this if you like:

You might also be curious to read some reviews and critiques of his approach, here or here. It’s worth noting that people were using the term before Jenkins coined it, and it is typically applied more to technologies, rather than to communication forms or social spaces. (i.e., The convergence of power supplies and networking into power-over-ethernet technology)

Key to Jenkins’ use of the term – and to our first project – is that convergence can refer not solely to the merging of disparate technologies into a single technology, but also to such things as :

  • one architectural space fulfilling a function formerly  served by two or more different types of spaces
  • one social group assuming a function previously served by multiple social groups
  • one company, service, or business providing a single offering that fills the needs of multiple business areas
  • integrated media outlets – information from multiple sources delivered as one
  • disparate occupations replaced by a single position
  • the merging of different, distinct social roles into a single new position
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