During the last century there have been many developments in the evolution of media. The biggest probably being computers and the internet. Computers used to be just giant, chunky, boxes with a screen, a keyboard, and a mouse. They were slow as a snail and the graphics were not of the best quality. Now a days, we have slim and sleek screens that can be completely touch censored, and voice typing. As well as faster performance and processing, high-definition and high quality graphics.
The internet has gone from a slow dial-up connection to now being wireless with extremely fast connections and now people can connect to the web from almost anywhere in the world thanks to Wi-fi, iPads, laptops, tablets and smart phones. Smart phones are the new and improved versions of the not so impressive cell phones from the past centuries. What used to be basic buttons and screen flip phones are now slim touch-screened phones. Today’s cell phones, or as they are now called smart phones, can take high quality photos and videos.
They are also capable of downloading applications, or apps, that allow the user to play high graphic games, watch television and movies. As well as have face-to-face video chatting, text messaging and email. Now all of these changes have greatly influenced not only the American culture, but the entire world. The high speeds of the internet have made keeping in touch with friends and family simple and fast, thanks to text messaging and emails. Social networking sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace, are a great way to stay in touch.
These sites allow users to post status updates, upload albums worth of pictures and videos, as well as plan events and send out invites. An educational game used by children on computers, tablets and smart phones gives the chance to begin learning at a young age while having fun at the same time. The portability of these devices is great for on the go learning. Barcode scanners on smart phone weight loss apps, allow users to gain more information on food items and gives the opportunity to make healthier food choices when shopping for groceries.
Fitness apps also help users keep track of workouts and set alarm reminders to workout, as well as view videos and tips on how to properly perform exercises. Online purchases make shopping a breeze, people can browse products online, add them to a virtual shopping cart and by just typing in their credit card information they have made their purchase. This ability creates an easier lifestyle for those that have issues with driving and walking. Media convergence, or a process by which previously distant technologies come to share tasks and resources, can be thanked for all these great changes.
Basically what media convergence is is traditional media combining with emerging media. A good example of this would be the ability for cell phones to not only take high quality pictures and videos but the opportunity to share them online. Henry Jenkins a media theorist suggested that there are five different forms of media convergence. Economic convergence which is when one company uses many different forms of media, something such as a business using commercials, radio and online adds to sell their products.
Secondly we have cultural convergence, or when news and information pass along through things such as social networking sites, blogs, television, and newspapers. This allows users to comment their own opinions and information. Global convergence involves geographically distant cultures that are able to influence each other. Technological convergence is the merging of different technologies, such as the cell phones new abilities that was discussed earlier. Lastly would be organic convergence, or multimedia multitasking, and the natural outcome of the media world.
Due to today’s society being highly dependent on media as it is our main source of communication and other life necessities, the ability to process media messages, or media literacy, is a very important skill to obtain. From a very early age we are all exposed to media and being a media literate person allows one to chance to interpret these messages in their own way and form their own opinion in this media lead society. As you can see media is a wildly used resource all over the world and as it continues to advance and grow with each century, there is no way of knowing just how far things will go with the power of media and knowledge.
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