What is media convergence? Media convergence is the bringing together of multiple technologies into one new form of technology. For example, not too long ago if someone wanted to watch a movie they would have to take a trip to the movies, now a person can watch that same movie on their computer in their home. With all the advances in technology and the race for a faster product that can do everything a computer, phone, music player, and TV what are we missing out on?
The advances in technology are fantastic in so many ways but with these advances we have lost many other things as well. I remember a time when going to the movies was the best thing someone could do on a Friday night. You walk into the theater buy your ticked, your snacks and you were ready for the ultimate viewing experience. With the emergence of video streaming websites such as Netflix and Hulu those ultimate viewing experiences seem to be endangered. Slowly but surely I feel myself drifting away from going to the movies to just viewing the movie on my computer in my room. I don’t know how much longer it will be but there may be a day when you only read about movie theaters in books.
Books, that’s another area that was once so clear that it’s now becoming blurred. Books in the sense of good old fashion paper and ink are slowly fading out as well. With the creation for devices such as the Kindle and the Nook now books can be found electronically but not only can you get books on them, it also works a little computer too. My grandmother who is an avid reader of many books has always stuck to the paperback books. I remember when my sister bought my grand mom a Kindle, she tried it for a week or so but she gave it back to my sister and said it’s not the same. When asked how it was not the same my grand mom said, “yes I know you can still read the book but there is nothing and will never be anything quite like holding an actual book and turning the crisp pages for the first time”. I think the point she was trying to make was that yes you can read you book still but you will miss out on the experiences that so many people experience when they read from a paperback book.
One of the biggest products what has benefited from media convergence would have to be the IPod from Apple. The IPod started in 2001 and its’ big selling point was being able to have 1,000 songs in your pocket. This was amazing, never before did a product offer something such as this but it was not enough. The changes started off slow with upgrades of how many songs an IPod can hold. As popularity increased so did the advances. This music player was soon not just a music player it became smaller, lighter and even started playing videos and soon after games of all kinds. Apple has not stopped at the IPod, every year Apple is making advances in their products to make them faster and do more things in the smallest space possible. It is truly amazing and scary at the same time how fast technology moves. When I become a father my kids may never know the feeling of walking into a music store and looking at the CDs by hand and buying a hard copy. In today’s world even the drive to the music store has change from what it once was.
Cars have always been a product that changes every year. The automobile has changed a little bit at a time whether it is the size of the engine, the gas millage it achieves or the newest safety features but there is one type of technology that is quickly being integrated into the car. It’s not enough to have a telephone that plays music, plays videos links to the internet all in your pocket but now companies need to put telephones into cars. The time when someone could get into their car and just go for a drive and have to worry about being bothered is gone. Now people always need to be connected to other people all the time. There is rarely a moment when you can go and do something and have a way of being contacted.
I am concerned about younger generations never experiencing all the wonderful things I have in my life but will they even know to miss them like I will? With media convergence being an ongoing process of fitting all technology into one device younger generations won’t think that there is anything they are missing out on. I believe that media convergence will always be relative and if you’re not paying attention to it you will miss it. For example, for me I’ve experienced life when we did not have all of these technologies to do all of these tasks at one time. So I have seen the slow process of media convergence. Younger generations may not even experience the technology that existed before an IPod, computer, or even a Kindle. Although the “good old days” of going to the movies every Friday and listening to that crazy sound your computer made when it was connecting to the internet are quickly becoming a thing of the past if they are not already, I know that I won’t forget them. Marc Benioff, CEO of salesforce.com, a cloud computing company was once quoted saying.
The world is being re-shaped by the convergence of social, mobile, cloud, big data, community and other powerful forces. The combination of these technologies unlocks an incredible opportunity to connect everything together in a new way and is dramatically transforming the way we live and work.
Media convergence appears to be unstoppable at this point, it is a runaway train that no one can control. The only thing we can do now is just go with the flow of the new technology and find ways of adapting our lives around it. It is truly a shame that the wonderful gift of technology can take away so many wonderful things.
Links to forms of media convergence