Making a Convergent Culture

In the introduction of his book, Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide, Henry Jenkins outlines the 3 main concepts of convergence culture:

  1. Media Convergence: “…the flow of content across multiple media
    platforms, the cooperation between multiple media industries, and the
    migratory behavior of media audiences who will go almost anywhere
    in search of the kinds of entertainment experiences they want.” (Jenkins 2)
  2. Participatory Culture: “This circulation of media content-across different media systems, competing media economies, and national borders-depends heavily
    on consumers’ active participation… consumers
    are encouraged to seek out new information and make connections
    among dispersed media content.” (Jenkins 3)
  3. Collective Intelligence:  “Convergence occurs within the brains of
    individual consumers and through their social interactions with others… Because there is more information on any given topic than anyone can store in their head, there is an added incentive for us to talk among ourselves about the media we consume. This conversation creates buzz that is increasingly valued by the media industry.” (Jenkins 3-4)

The Netflix Original documentary Making a Murderer is a great example for contextualizing “convergence culture”. In a display of media convergence, Making a Murderer was able to be viewed across multiple platforms (TV, computer, smart phone, tablet) to those with a Netflix subscription. For audiences who didn’t have a subscription, some would either purchase a subscription just to watch Makin a Murderer, resort to calling their exes for their password or download the episodes illegally; demonstrating the “migratory behavior” Jenkins talks about.

Perhaps more shocking than the plot of Making a Murderer was the public outcry following its premier. Because we now live in a participatory media culture, audiences flocked to social media to share their opinions and theories of whether Steven Avery was wrongly prosecuted. Some viewers felt so inclined to even create podcasts, facebook pages, and websites completely dedicated to the Steven Avery case. The official Making a Murderer Facebook page, with 429,676 subscribers eager to share their own theories of the murder, exemplifies collective intelligence.

Watch the Making a Murder trailer (but maybe set aside some time to binge-watch first):



About lauren3307

GWSS 3307 Spring 2016
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