Archive for April, 2010

Convergence

Convergence is a very interesting concept, and like my fellow blogger lamayers states, I believe it is very closely linked with the concept of mobility.

When describing Convergence, I’m going to use my own definition. As when reading the articles I really formed my own definition in my head of what it is. To me, convergence is a number of things, namely the merging of several types of media across a single platform; In other words, the merging of “old” and “new” media. The problem with the second definition – although more simple – is defining what the terms “old” and “new” are. Answering questions such as – when does old media finish and new media starts?

Convergence is seen across many types of broadcasting media at the moment.  Great example of the mixing of “new” and “old” media are – Yahoo7 or NineMSN.  Where television – being the ultimate “old” media – channels are merging with internet search engine sites to give their audience a mixture of daily activities such as the daily news, television guides, and accessing research materials. Convergence ultimately, allows for the destruction of “narrowcasting”, as stated previously, it allows for the merging of different type of media.

Nightengale and Dwyer’s article – New media worlds – encompasses this concept of convergence at a very advanced yet simple to read level. It looks at convergence as the disintegration of traditional media and the flourishing of modern media. As well Nightengale and Dwyer introduce various terms into the convergence concept, including Richness and Reach. I believe convergence has increased human being ability to “reach” places. This ties in with the concept of mobility as you can now access media anywhere you are – even when you are out of the home. This reach has allowed for increased richness in knowledge, communication and other aspects of your life.

Jenkins article – “buying into American idol” also makes you think about convergence in a different way. How reality shows – although believed to be “corporate hype” – allows for the interactive nature of watching the show on TV, and “voting” for a competitor to be eliminated or stay in the competition. This interactive nature allows broadcasting networks to merge human beings with television and their mobile phones.

Overall convergence was a natural progression for human nature. With such easy access to different types of media, it was only natural for big broadcasting giants to merge several types of media to make it easier to use and more simple to gain information.

Hope it makes sense, i didnt proof read it as the tutorial is going to start soon hehe

Natasha Boustani xx

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Convergence: Shaping the Future of Media Relationships, Production & Consumption

As mentioned in the lecture, I found convergence to be a topic closely interlinked with mobility, as well as touching on spatial aspects. It is perhaps a more difficult derivative of these concepts to grasp, however the readings and the lecture have helped me to formulate my own understandings of convergence in media; particularly in relation to the shift from the analogue to the digital world.

In the article from Nightingale, ‘New Media Worlds’, notions of richness and reach were discussed. I believe that convergence has allowed for not only a greater reach – i.e. through broadcasting rather than “narrowcasting”, through the World Wide Web, and mass media platforms – yet, alternatively to some views presented in the article, allows for a general increase in richness and personal proximity. For example, digital television such as Foxtel IQ now allows audiences to prerecord their favourite programs in advance for later viewing, offers features such as Foxtel Demand for twenty-four hour preference based viewing, Sky News Active’s user-selective interface, the geographically-personalised Weather Channel, and recently segmented movie channels by genre. Similarly, iTunes has the Genius function; creating playlists from the user’s personal library of songs that match based on sound or style, and recommending music based on a personalised assessment of the individual user’s music library. Amazon, as mentioned in the 2015 video recommended by Scott Shaner in the lecture, acts in a similar way, creating personal recommendations unique to the user based on previous purchases and prior browsing. It is in this sense I feel I have to argue the first aticle’s argument that these new digital “competitors” offer “greater reach and less richness,” assuming that it is these kind of ‘disintermediary’ technologies that the author refers to. (I say ‘disintermediary’ in that businesses like iTunes, Foxtel Box Office, and Amazon remove the ‘middle man’ mediums of record stores, DVD rental stores, and bookstores or libraries, respectively).

I do agree with the 2015 video referred to in the lecture, as well as the first article’s labelling of these new media, digital ‘competitors’ as posing “a degree of uncertainty about the future of traditional media” and responsible for the “emergence of new audience formations that challenge the existing orderly system of media distribution,” and it is in this light I refer to reality television and the second reading, Jenkins’ ‘Buying into American Idol: How We are Being Sold on Reality Television.’ I understand that reality television is perhaps, what Karla Peterson so bluntly described, “a conniving multimedia monster. Shameless product placement. Bloodless nostalgia. Corporate hype,” however I argue that given the “3 seconds” media producers have to “impress” contemporary consumers, reality television is an extremely effective answer to the increasing transience of consumer-producer media relationships of current times. Reality television incorporates numerous genres of entertainment: drama, comedy, real time and past time, usually a ‘game show’ or competitive aspect, and usually catered to some specific entertainment niche, be it music, sport, or cooking, as examples among many. Reality television programs such as American Idol allow for “transmedia storytelling” and content branding as discussed in the first reading, supporting consumer “expression” rather than “impression” through increased participatory aspects, a sense of democracy between producers and consumers (i.e. the user’s ability to influence the outcome of these “real” programs), and providing a platform for advertisers and marketers to market their products to mass yet segmented audiences, overcoming limitations posed by digitalisation of television and an increased awareness and desensitisation  to marketing among contemporary consumers.

I am still getting my head around the full concept of convergence, but I have appreciated learning about it as I feel that so far it is the topic most relevant to our future as media practitioners and media consumers.

Convergence

where we read New media Worlds? Challenges for convergence from Nightengale and Dwyer.

I found this week’s reading quite interesting as it discusses convergence in a way that outlines what it is and how it can affect us. In the chapter overview, Convergence is defined as “a word that describes technological, industrial, cultural and social changes in ways media circulates with our culture”.

This reading talks about the changes to media and the traditional media is slowly disintergrating as the modern media is emerging. They argue that ” the convergence process is challenged by core differences between the traditional media and the internet”. Having read this, i started to wonder what the world would be like if we didn’t have the internet. We wouldn’t have things such as facebook, myspace, blogs or even youtube. If so, what would be doing in our free time?

It occured to me that maybe if there were no internet people would still be glued to tv, and thus have a more daily ritual as there would be no “TiVo” to record the shows to watch later, either that or they become more active because let’s face it, these days all we do is sit in front of our computer or laptop and do what we usually do whether it be youtube, facebook or msn.

Which is why i understand why, in this context, internet is labeled as a threat as it has ” in turn caused traditional media to redefine their activities in order to be able to compete for internet audiences” and why “convergence has become a ‘push-me-pull-you’ process of internetisation and mediatisation” which is, really nto so suprising as everyone is engaged to the internet in one way or another.

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Convergence

Of this week’s two readings I have chosen to focus my blog on Henry Jenkins’ “Buying into American Idol: How We are being Sold on Reality Television”. While I wouldn’t consider myself an avid fan I have occasionally watched American Idol in the past and though Jenkins’ analysis of the show was quite interesting. He begins by saying that “American Idol was from the start not simply a television program but a transmedia franchise” (Jenkins 164). To support this claim he mentions all facets of media in which the show reached in its first season alone: RCA Records, Number 1 Single on Billboard Hot 100, endless radio play, a bestselling book, nationwide concert tour and a feature film. This was just the beginning. As the series has progressed it has expanded into new ventures including a video game and partnership with iTunes in which the songs from each week are made available for download.
To analyze this media phenomenon Jenkins employ the term “affective economics”. He defines this as “a new configuration of marketing theory, still somewhat on the fringes but gaining ground within the media industry, which seeks to understand the emotional underpinnings of consumer decision-making as a driving force behind viewing and purchasing decisions” (Jenkins 165). He uses this term to examine how viewers’ emotional attachments to a particular television program develop and, more importantly, how they can be used (manipulated) by advertisers to turn a profit. He pays particular attention to what the industry calls “loyalists” or fans who are “more apt to watch series faithfully, more apt to pay attention to advertising, and more apt to buy products” (Jenkins 165). As a result, “loyalists” are of great worth to advertisers. Jenkins explains that a show like American Idol is structured in such a way that it inevitably gains “loyalists” and thus a captive audience for advertisers not only during the program but beyond. Such characteristics include the serialization of the series, the fact that the audience comes to know the contestants, they are involved in the voting and the content provides something for people to talk about during the week between airings. Because , people are so attached to American Idol as a television program advertisers like Coca-Cola, Ford and AT&T can capitalize on the “love marks” and benefit from the loyal fan base. Like I said, I am not a regular viewer of the series but it would be impossible not to notice the overwhelming presence of Coca-Cola.
This article made me think of another FOX program: 24. Like American Idol, 24 is a serialized show that viewers feel compelled to watch every week for fear that they will miss something important. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the program concept is that each hour represents one hour in the day of the life of government agent Jack Bauer who is trying to thwart a terrorist threat. The problem develops throughout the course of the season and is not solved until the season finale. Because of its format 24 has a great deal of “loyalist” viewers. Advertisers have taken advantage of this in the form of product placement. While not overtly obvious a point is made to make sure that every time a car is used the Ford logo is shown. The same goes for a Sprint Cell Phone and Apple computer. This is an example of how advertisers are taking advantage of an emotional connection to a television program to innovatively market their product.

Sorry this is so long-there was just so much to talk about in this article!

Mobility: A Movement in Media

NOTE: I just typed an amazing blog and lost the whole thing!!!!!  I am so angry! I thought WordPress saved as you typed! Not a fan of “media” at the moment!

Of all the topics we have covered so far, I have to say that mobility has interested me most. Obviously tying in closely with spatiality and temporality, I think observing media through its mobility reveals many truths about those who engage with it, as well as its molding of traditional or conventional sociocultural activity.

I plan to touch on both Volker and Ito’s articles, although I feel I gained more from the latter. Volker’s article interested me in its elaboration on mobile media’s enabling of ‘coexisting’ in several ‘places’ simultaneously; for example travelling and existing in ‘nonspace’ (e.g. a train) whilst existing within digital networks (e.g. Facebook on mobile), perhaps even while streaming live television or radio through mobile devices, as an example. I feel this relates to what Ito stresses about media; that it does not, to popular perception, “erode the integrity of existing places or social identities”; but rather, as Volker suggests, allowing us to “connect the virtual world with the physical world,”  “extend” the body, and enhance the efficiency of our daily functions.

I was extremely interested in Volker’s description of Semapedia barcoding and Socialight’s ‘Sticky Shadow’ applications; both revealing not only mobile media’s ability to merge space and link distant geographical places, but also its ability to form links or ‘portals’ between geographical real space, and virtual space (i.e. Through the barcode on a physical object linking to a webpage); thus, mobile media allowing for a transience between real and virtual dimensions. I considered other forms of media that make take on such a role of mobility, and thought immediately of the newly released Apple iPad. Debate over whether the iPad will bring traditional forms of media, such as the newspaper, to a new media domain are rife. This being the case, the broadsheet physicality of a newspaper and its transformation into a compact, interactive, single-interface surface supports the spatial implications of mobile media, and perhaps the social implications – will the newspaper remain the same in its traditional and new media formats, or will each be adjusted according to the differing demographics between the iPad reader and the broadsheet reader?

I found Ito’s article thoroughly interesting, as did the other members of our group, apparently. This is probably because of its relevance to us as young adults living in a digital world submerged in media. I, however, differ to my peers in that I do not enjoy nor participate in heavy text messaging or mobile communication (despite owning an iPhone), and tend to enjoy my privacy when away from the physical company of others. It is this aspect of social expectations to be available for constant, “immediate” contact with personal networks that I do not enjoy about mobile media. I find it almost pervasive, and tend to prefer to save my conversational communication for face-to-face contact, and use mobile phones as a tool for organising such contact and other more ‘administrative’ uses Ito covered. I can appreciate this constant availability he discusses as a social expectation however, often annoying my friends with my delayed replies and conclusive messages rather than carrying on text conversations.

I am sorry my original blog was lost – I feel like I had so much to say! I think I’ve covered the main points I wanted to raise though. I really enjoyed this week’s readings, and I would love to discuss them further with anyone as interested as I am.

Lauren

Revelations on Research

Last year I was a business student, and research is approached in a rather different method in the business world than in the media world. Studying statistics, research was very quantitative, numerical, historical, and based on ‘conventional’ or ‘traditional’ data of numbers, facts and figures. We touched on qualitative research methods, but that was where we left it – I thought no more of it.

Reading this article, I realised how important qualitative investigations are to research, having always thought it to support or be used in conjunction with quantitative methods, for example in market research situations. It was not that I didn’t value qualitative research (quite the opposite), but rather that I perceived it as something less valued in research industries. The article supports my initial perception:

“Most funding priorities call for quantitative projects, and qualitative investigators in all of the social sciences are often believed to suffer a disadvantage in getting grants… qualitative researchers cannot always produce conclusive answers to focused questions…” (pp. 119)

However, having gleaned an appreciation for the way in which qualitative research is conducted – i.e. through personal attachment with a studied subject, a passion for a certain field, or a genuine quest to gain knowledge or insight into a subject – I realise that it is perhaps, in some sense, a much more thorough approach to investigation. I understand that quantitative and qualitative methods are more appropriate for certain projects than others, but I feel that qualitative research is benefitted from a removal of the ‘sterile’, ‘facts and figures only’ approach of quantitative methods to ignite and spur a sense of determination in its so involved researchers.

In this way the article also changed my thoughts on researchers getting personally involved with their subjects.

“It is important to know that feeling passionate about our research is not just “okay” but the best way to live the scholar’s life. Researchers’ lived experience can also be a source of opportunity…”

I’d always assumed that being or becoming attached to an investigation or formal subject matter in an emotional or personal sense could be considered, and perhaps this is not the right word, unethical in a sense; considering bias, ‘fudging’ or careful representation of facts, or any personal repercussions from such attachment. However, I now can appreciate this close approach as something of a positive influence on research methods.

I have touched on one particular angle of Lindlof and Taylor’s article – being limited for words I wanted to focus this as my basis for discussion, since in this area i gained the most from my readings. Mentioning the online reading by the University of Surrey, I will also say that I found it extremely interesting considering the amount of detail, physical effort (writing, formatting, etc) and struggle (gaining grants, approval etc) that goes into embarking on research, especially of a qualitative nature.

This has been a longer post than usual, so thanks for bearing with me!

Lauren.

Week 6-Mobility

I found the second reading this week, Ito’s “Mobile Phones, Japanese Youth and the Re-placement of Social Contact” particularly interesting and relevant. Cell phones are so prevalent in our society and integral to our daily activities that we have come to take their capabilities for granted. In this study the researcher focuses on the cell phone use of Japanese youth. Ito is particularly interested in looking at both how the physical place (home, school, public transit) influence communication and the “place” or “co-presence” created through use of the cell phone. This is seen as liberation in a way because so much of these teens’ lives and inevitably communication are regulated by some authority whether it be a parent or teacher. Ito states, “Mobile phones become a tool for circumventing the normative structure of the home with minimal disruption to its institutional logic” (140). The same can be said for the class room and public transit. Either through semi private conversations (going into another room to chat with a friend) or text messaging of which the content is known only to the participants, cell phone users are able to create their own private space while physically occupying a space where they might not have much authority. “Messaging becomes a means for experiencing a sense of private contact and co-presence with a loved one even in the face of their inability to share any private physical space” (139).

My personal response to the text was much like Julie’s. In the media diary for our research project I had my subject indicate the type of media and the time periods in which he used that device. Because his use was so extensive he chose not write down every time he used his cell phone but rather write “all day” under the heading of time period. This shows just how attached we are to our phones.
I, again like Julie, was somewhat surprised to learn that cell phone use by Japanese teenagers is so much like my own. I could relate to almost every example. I don’t know the land line number of some of my closest friends because we prefer to communicate through cell phone conversation or text message. It would be foreign to me to have to call one of these friend’s homes and potentially have to talk to another member of their family to get to them. I have used my cell in class to text friends but would never think of engaging in a vocal conversation. I have “used” a friend for a phone call or text message conversation when I was bored or traveling. I think all of us can relate to such examples which shows just how ingrained these habits formed by what Ito calls “social and cultural context and power relations” are in our lives. (135)