Stemming from class discussions and the work of Castells, the growth of convergence culture and mass self-communication sites enables individuals (such as our class) to be an integral part of shaping the popular culture, seen on the television, online, and distributed across the globe.
As media has adapted from the radio and television to the Internet, an intermixing of platforms has occurred. Labeled as the process of convergence culture, media conglomerates give viewers the chance to interact with media content on multiple platforms, often times with an overlap of content. Enabling this “multitasking” through multimodal communication (Castells 132-134), media provide additional opportunities to consumers to express their preferences about the content. Giving viewers this ‘agency’ to produce user-content directed towards the media, viewers can share their interpretations of the decoded messages as well as interact with other viewers whom are decoding similar messages. Convergence culture, particularly through the integration of online participatory websites, sets up this “culture of sharing” (Castells 126). Engaged in this online ‘sharing environment’ viewers or audiences can exchange decoded messages and contend with the uni-directional messages spread by the media conglomerates. The result … “the rise of interactive production of meaning.” (Castells 132) Or as Castells labels it the creative audience, wherein all audiences participating in mass communication environment remix their cultures to synthesize a shared culture.
So … as audiences interact with one another, exchanging messages, contesting messages in the media, and so forth, the creative audience empowered by the convergence culture becomes an integral factor of determining the future culture. These environments media conglomerates open the doors to a “culture of co-production of content.”(Castells 126) The now ‘active’ audience whom provides responses, interpretations, and suggestions via online participatory sites, influence the production of media conglomerates. Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and so forth allow audiences to express their preferences toward media content and influence the current production of culture. Although the media conglomerates still control the final product, the outgrowth of online participation sites through convergence culture allows audiences to dictate what it will do, be, and look like. Thanks to these technology, us, the students of SIS 640 could determine the next craze!