Week 1.1: Readings


Jenkins, H. (2004). The Cultural Logic of Media Convergence. International Journal of Cultural Studies, 7(1), 33 -43. doi:10.1177/1367877904040603 [Via Library Catalogue]

Manovich, L. (2009). The Practice of Everyday (Media) Life: From Mass Consumption to Mass Cultural Production? Critical Inquiry, 35(2), 319-331. doi:10.1086/596645 [Via Library Catalogue]

1. Jenkins suggests nine areas where the relationships between consumers and producers are changing. What are these, which seem most important, and how far have these new relationships emerged?

Jenkins writes about the contradictory and transitional nautre of our current media system. He says that convergence alters the relationship between existing technologies, and refers to a process not an end result. He explains that new communities are defined by voluntray, temporary and tactical affiliations and are held together the mutual production and reciprocal exchange of knowledge. Jenkins feels our media future could depend on how we balance the needs of commercial media with collective intelligence.

He also believes that politics will need to look at the ways consumers are influencing the production and distribution of media content, particularly with the recent popularity of blogging which is actively shaping the flow of media. He states that bloggers are creating a new vision of media politics.

He further claims that Consumers are fighting for the right to participate more fully in their own culture and are confused by the expectation and restriction on how much participation they can enjoy. When comparing old and new paradigms, he says the old ways included passive, predictable, isolated and compliant consumers whereas new media is introducing us to active, migratory, socially connected buyers who take media into their own hands. He feels that in an era of privatisation, cultural policy is being set not by government but by media companies.

Jenkins feels innovation will occur on the fringes but consolidation in the mainstream however I have always believed this to be true. In art, wealth creation, sport, academia, science etc it is always the elite, the special chosen few that have moved forward and left a legacy for others to follow. It is the sheep, the mass population, that showcase the genius and the insane as being the other ends of the bell curve.

The nine areas that Jenkins feels relationships are changing are:

  1. Audience measurement – consumers now show a willingness to track down media across multiple platforms that engages them and research should focus on how that content is being used and shared; and to view this as valuable.
  2. Regulated Content – we are pushing away from consensus-style media toward narrocasting. consumers are expected to play a much more active role in determining what content is appropriate for themselves.
  3. Digital Economy – the introduction of micropayments will lead us away from subscription based models and media producers will sell their product direct to the public.
  4. Media Ownership – the debate is between the concept that technological change has resulted in an explosion of media options or that we have intense media concentration based on the issue of ownership.
  5. Media Aesthetics – we need to experiment with integrated structure of content that makes a distinct but interrelated contribution to the public. Works must still be self-sufficient but correlated with a sense of engagement that he calls transmedia storytelling.
  6. Intellectual Propery rights – This is a big debate between whether the general public will expand its right to participate in media or will corporations restrict that participation and therefore free expression by keeping tight reins on intellectual property.
  7. Relationships between producers and consumers – Society will need to decide if legal action should be taken against use of peer to peer technology or whether or not it should be embraced as the portal to constructing fan communities with long term relationships and loyalty with their consumers.
  8. Globalisation – The world is becoming smaller and more homogenised as we encounter, share and absorb each others cultures.
  9. Engaging Citizens – activism and popular culture will become the venue through which key social and political issues will be debated.

To me, the most important is the relationship between producers and consumers. This and intellectual property rights work hand in hand in alienating media makers from those that want to engage with it. In this area, it is hotly debated about the right way to proceed and I feel that whatever way is ultimately decided, this will have the greatest impact on how the use of the internet and society will be altered irrevocably.

2. Manovich suggests a few areas where the most interesting and innovative responses to social media are being produced – what are they, and how might (or might not) these be indicative of new forms of creativity unleashed by digitsation?

Manovich writes about the changes in information exchange since the advent of web 2.0. He talks about the new economics of media and how most of the conten available online finds an audience, even if only tiny. He asks to what extent user generated content is driven by the electronics industry (digital cameras, laptops, media players) and what extent is driven by social media companies. He says that 20th century people consumed products but 21st century consumers are mimicking it.

Manovich also discusses strategies and tactics. In the old models, government and corporations were responsible for the creation of strategies and consumers utilised tactics to navigate them. These days the cultural items are mass produced by designers etc but our identites are created by using tactics to remix, reassemble and customisation.

Today there is a shift toward transparency and visibility and the roles of strategies and tactics are often reversed. Web native industries are now designed to be customised by the user and companies are developing strategies that imitate tactics and then selling them to the people.

The introduction of web 2.0 has homogenised culture to an extent and aided global travel, giving permanent and trackable data.

3. Lastly, a much bigger and more personal question: Looking at the unit material, which areas look to be of most interest to you? Why?

Within Module 1, the area of most interest would be Photography because I believe these are the easiest things to steal/pirate/remix etc in the digital world. Images can be created from scratch that look like photographs. Images can be altered to change a perception, change a profile, change an opinion or even change a reputation. How we use these images, and how we accept responsibility for changes in technology in relation to imagery is vital to our next move forward. From this node, all the other areas will follow but I believe the really big questions of piracy, privacy and responsibility will likely to be answered once we decide on how to proceed societally with digitised images.


One thought on “Week 1.1: Readings

  1. Pingback: Frank MacDonald » Week 1.1: Readings December @ University

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