Posted by: julierussell55 | October 10, 2011

How Does Our Convergence Culture Influence Your Life?

In chapters 4, 5 and 6 of “Convergence Culture,” Henry Jenkins explores the “Star Wars” cult followings, the “Harry Potter” fan fiction influence on children’s literacy, and the 2004 presidential campaign’s use of online communities. These are significant examples of how convergence culture may have changed our life in the 21st century. Name one important way that you could use convergence culture happenings to change your life today, whether it be in your work, personal life, or political leanings.

I have learned from Jenkins’ book to embrace the fact that online communities are challenging the mainstream media’s ability to report news.  I think the online proliferation of alternative news sources is a very positive development in our society today. In other words, traditional broadcast and print sources no longer have a monopoly over the news process due to the development of i-reporters, bloggers, YouTube, and other online sources.

As with “Harry Potter” fan fiction, “Star Wars” cults, and the online political process, reporters have much to gain from the shared knowledge of online communities. Our collective knowledge over the Internet provides a system of checks and balances.  Alternative online news sources enrich the overall reporting of news, despite the need to consider each source carefully. For example, in many Arab Spring events, social media sites and other alternative news sources brought out much more than the mainstream media could cover in the Middle East.

Another interesting example of how our convergence culture is influencing our daily lives may be the recent “Occupy Wall Street” activities. With the help of social media and other online sites, this major protest has taken off nationally and may ultimately influence the upcoming presidential campaign, at least by drawing attention to the daily issues that are frustrating Americans. An interesting segment on “60 Minutes” last night showed President Obama’s appointment of a committee to improve unemployment, perhaps addressing some of the “Occupy Wall Street” concerns. Only time will tell if this movement actually accomplishes something culturally significant over the long term.

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