Jenkins: ‘Worship at the Altar of Convergence’

“Worship at the Altar of Convergence” is the introduction to Henry Jenkins’ book, “Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide.”

In his introduction, Jenkins explores how people are seeking out and making connections between content across diverse media platforms. This is what Jenkins refers to as “participatory culture.”

A couple key concepts here:

  • Old media never die, but the tools we use to access media content die. These tools are “delivery technologies.” If a medium satisifies a core human demand, it will continue to function even as delivery technologies change. Recorded sound, for example, persists, though now we listen to it on iPods.
  • Media are cultural systems that work on two levels: 1) As a medium that enables communication; 2) as a set of associated “protocols,” or social and cultural practices that have grown up around that technology.

Social networks are examples of new delivery technologies that satisfy a core human demand. For more on this core human demand, see this previous post about the “Architectures of Participation.”
We also can see how social media work on both of Jenkins’ levels: They enable communication and have their own protocols.

This blog includes a series of posts that stem from readings and other source materials in the Fall 2011 “Collaboration in Networked Environments” at The New School. For more Collaboration: Key Concepts posts, click here.


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