Before I discuss what digital convergence is, let me start by saying I’m excited about my Introduction to Digital Communications class. As with any class, I wasn’t sure what to expect. What would the professor-to-student and student-to-student dynamic be like on this online portal? It’s been many years since I’ve been in a classroom: How would I respond? Ultimately, I think it will be great, Professor Baker is very thoughtful and the discussion, engaging.
The discussion in our first live session revolved around digital convergence. What is digital convergence you ask? It’s the merging of many different types of media to one device so they are accessible from anywhere and at anytime. Professor Baker made a really interesting point to help us grasp that definition – in that before, if we wanted to do something we had to go somewhere, where now we don’t because everything is in one place. For instance before digital convergence, if you wanted to watch a movie then you would need to go to a movie theatre. If you wanted to read a book, you had to go to a library or bookstore. If you wanted to read from multiple newspapers, you had to subscribe to, or buy, multiple papers. Nowadays we can do each of these things from one place.
It is also worth mentioning how one of my classmates, Jesse described the effect of digital convergence on the barriers of time. They have essentially been removed. We can now access archives of old media at anytime from one place and compare them with new media. If we see a tweet about something, we can look back on old publications to fact check or gather more information.
This new accessibility due to digital convergence has also changed our culture in how we operate on a day-to-day basis. The smart device, ( I dare not say phone at the risk of offending tablets.) has become the control center from which our daily activities are conducted. People are able to do any of these at any point during the day from anywhere.
- Share: pictures, videos, texts, you name it
- Learn through listening (podcasts), reading, watching
- Keep in touch: family, friends, random people you met while backpacking Asia
- Network: The potential to make connections with people who would otherwise be out of our reach, is there
- Work: with new apps and access to email we don’t neccessarily even need to be in and office
- Sleep: yes, there are even apps to help put us to sleep not to mention I bet most of us use our phone to wake us up
There are of course advantages and disadvantes to this new connectivity from digital convergence. Here are a few of each.
I’ll leave you with this one last thought on the power of digital convergence from class. Isn’t it funny how looking through photo albums was something we’d hate to do? Yet now, we’ll stare for hours at the photos of people we hardly know. Remarkable.