Convergence Culture (Part 2): Free Content Everywhere

Convergence Culture (Part 2): Free Content Everywhere

Following our previous post on the convergence culture, this post will discuss the second of the 5Cs – Content. Remember, the 5Cs is just an acronym I created for easy analysis of the concept of convergence culture.

Content: “Everywhere you go”

The availability of content or information to anyone with access to the internet, and the transference of data from one platform to the other, reminds me of a popular telecommunications provider in Nigeria, known as MTN that has the slogan, “Everywhere you go“. I guess the slogan was coined to depict how widespread the network is in Nigeria. So, I thought it quite similar to what information has become in the world today.

If information had a super-power, it would be called, “fluidity“, which connotes how flexible it has become. The convergence being discussed here involves the free flow of information across the various forms of media (Jenkins, 2008). In other words, information is no longer restricted to a few elites in society or one kind of technology or equipment. It is available to anyone who decides to participate and can be accessed via various types of technology such as mobile phones, computer, laptop, etc.

Remember, in those days, when only a few had access to books or other forms of printed information. Word of Mouth was the “in thing” and who you knew determined how knowledgeable you became. But, today, we are in a “networked information economy” where information is free and accessible through low rate communication technology (Bentler, 2006).

If you don’t have an iPad, you have an iPhone, and if not, you have a laptop or a computer; even if it is not your own, you have access to it. Perchance you don’t have any of the technologies mentioned above; what about a mobile phone, television, radio, newspaper, or even the books in the library that is free of charge? The point is, information is everywhere, but it becomes only a list of words if no one makes sense out of it.

Therefore, the concept of convergence culture is not really that information is available, everyone knows that! It is more about the fact that some consumers are gathering this information across multiple media platforms and communication devices, and utilizing it further, to create meaning in their lives, businesses and society at large.

So, just like Friedman (2007) noted, “If it’s not happening, it’s because you are not doing it!”

Ngozi Adighibe

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