Sunday, September 13, 2009

Convergence Culture

A number of years back, Faris Yakob, then the Digital Ninja at Naked Communications (now he is EVP Chief Technology Strategist at McCann Erickson New York), presented at the Account Planning Group Battle of Big Thinking in London. Faris put forward the idea of Transmedia Planning. Transmedia Planning draws heavily from Henry Jenkins' book Convergence Culture. In it Jenkins discusses the how culture has drastically changed with the advent of technology, in paricular communications technology and the internet.

These may be the most clued in, important pieces of thinking I've come across in relation to utilisation, development and understanding of the modern digital world. Start thinking Creative Commons licensing, digital mash-ups, user-generated content, and just about every other online/digital phenomenon that has grown out of the last decade. Think about how your consumption of media, and your ability and desire to create it, has changed even in your own lifetime. As primitive people stories are told around campfires, passed from person to person with no sense of ownership or acquisition. But with the advent of one-way mass communications such as tv, cinema and radio, these stories became the property of large corporations and publishers. The internet, and the technology that powers it and innovates it, has changed all that. Now anyone can share their story, or any story for that matter. Don't get me wrong, I fully understand that copyrights still exist but consider how even these are starting to slowly change. Consider how people like Trent Reznor or bands like Radiohead are starting to distribute their music. Consider the latest Championship Manager 2010 game, which asks you to pay whatever you feel is appropriate. This is part of convergence culture.

In the following video Jenkins gives his thoughts on convergence culture:

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