Media Convergence and the growth of the Internet

I really enjoyed this module and the fact that we wrote weekly blogposts related to the topics we had learnt and spoken about as it helped me to map out my ideas. I found many of the weekly topics interesting – such as privacy and intellectual property, but the topic I would say I found the most interesting was Media Convergence.

This topic as a whole has really made me realise how much the internet has grown over the years. It seems like an obvious thing to say, but when you really think about the process of media convergence – bringing old and new media together – it shows how much the internet has advanced in order to create more and more new media.

We are entering an era where media will be everywhere, and we will use all kinds of media in relation to one another – Henry Jenkins, 2001.

In terms of the growth of the internet, cultural convergence for example allows the public to be the users and create and spread their own content, which shows how far the internet has gone. Convergence means more services for us, but also more power. Think about all of the media we use everyday, that have been created through convergence. Instagram – the combination of photographs and the internet; Netflix – the combination of TV and the internet, the list goes on. I can only imagine how much more will be created in the future.

I found the idea of different types of media convergence really interesting also. I already knew about examples of media convergence, like online TV, online news and streaming services to name a few, but I didn’t know the term ‘media convergence’. Learning this, and the 5 different types of media convergence, made everything a lot clearer in terms of the media and how it has grown over the years with help from the internet. I also thought that this topic was really relevant in terms of Network Society and helped me to understand other topics more transparently.

YouTube, MyTube, EveryonesTube

For this post, I decided to focus on the opposite point of view. An example of content that currently uses Creative Commons licences is YouTube. Until a couple of weeks ago, I was unaware of Creative Commons licences, never mind the fact that YouTube users can use them. I wanted to write about this because I found it really interesting, that a website allows its users to share their creativity with each other. They even have a page dedicated to the most popular channels on the website, calling the users behind them ‘creators’. YouTube has built a brand based on the creativity of its users. Screen Shot 2016-03-15 at 15.02.41

To me, the fact that YouTube allows users to use Creative Commons licences isn’t particularly surprising. YouTube has gained a reputation in recent years as a creative platform that allows the public to create the content they wish, especially with the rise of vloggers and its relationship with younger viewers:

The study reveals that however young people are accessing the internet, YouTube is the dominant destination.

These licences allow users to use each others’ work without the threat of copyright. Similar content is not unusual for YouTube – creators can take ideas from one another for videos (for example, bloggers making videos based on a ‘tag’) and use music that won’t cause them any copyright problems.

A feature that I discovered whilst I was doing some research was that you can find videos that use Creative Commons licences through the search bar, by clicking filters and then Creative Commons:

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Depending on the what you search for, you can find any video based on your chosen term with a Creative Commons licence.

I think almost everyone would agree that if YouTube was under strict copyright control, it would change significantly. There are already copyrighted works on YouTube, for example, TV shows and music videos. But if the whole website was under a copyright umbrella, there would be increased control over creativity – which may not be a good thing. Any video that slightly resembles another – and in the world of beauty bloggers; gaming bloggers etc this wouldn’t be hard – may lead to a copyright strike.

Creative Commons licences allow users to have a choice to share their work with others so they can use it themselves. It encourages creativity, but it’s also good for the users themselves. They have created something that they wish to share with others. Personally, I think that if YouTube was under strict copyright control, there would be more limitations than advantages. I think the fact that YouTube is a website where you can find original content form users; copyright-free music and videos with licences where work can be built upon leads to YouTube being a hub of creativity.

Online Visibility

I would say that I am quite visible online and have been more and more aware of this as I’ve got older. When you’re younger, you don’t really think about how visible you are to other people. But now I know how easy it can be to find information.

I have had a Facebook account since I was around 11, which means there is nearly nine years worth of information about me on my account. However, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve deleted posts, photos and been much more sensible and conscious of the things I decide to post. The kind of information available on Facebook is quite personal, including posts to do with my family and friends, which means that whenever I post something, my settings ensure that only people I’m friends with see it. I’ve also increased my privacy settings so that if someone isn’t my friend on Facebook then they can’t see my profile.

On Twitter, my account isn’t on private. But I am careful with what I tweet, although I do tend to voice my opinions at times. When I was younger and had Twitter I was less aware that I was so visible.

With Twitter, I also have my personal blog linked in my bio, which means that someone could jump from one of my social networking accounts to the other. This could mean that I’m more visible than I realise if users have access to more than one of my accounts in the same place. Like Twitter, anyone can access my blog and read my posts. This is the same with my university blog.

On Instagram, I share personal information in the form of photos. Anyone who follows me can see whatever I post, and there is also a setting where you can see where a picture was taken if you tag your location. I don’t have my account on private which means that anyone, including those who don’t follow me, can see my posts.

This means that out of all of the accounts I have – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, my blogs on WordPress and my Pinterest account (although that is less personal than others) – only one of them is significantly private. Meaning that I am very visible online. I would like to say that I have control over my own information, at least Facebook claims I do:

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But after several stories about online privacy, it makes me wonder if I should change my privacy settings on all of my social networking accounts, rather than just one.

Tumblr

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It could be said that Tumblr is a website where online communities can be found. At least, it was what I first thought of when I was thinking about online communities.

Tumblr is a blogging platform as well as a social networking site. It was founded by David Karp in February 2007 and was acquired by Yahoo! in 2013 for around $1 billion.

The main reason that I think of Tumblr as being a website of online communities is because of the way the website is used by ‘fandoms’. Fandoms are groups of fans of almost anything, from TV shows to movie franchises, to books and musicians. Hundreds of fandoms use Tumblr in a way that is almost like an online community.

As it is a social networking site, this isn’t abnormal. Like Twitter, you can message people who may have a similar interest or blog type and users find a common interest with the thousands of other users who blog about the same thing.

The style of blogposts are also in a conversational style, and the way you can build your own blog shows that there is a more personal side to the website, where users can interact with each other.

YOUtube

When I was thinking about a website that has been significantly shaped by the audience, the first thing I thought of was YouTube. Literally, audience participation is in the name – you.

It was created in 2005 by Steve Chen, Chad Hurley and Jawed Karim and was bought by Google in 2006.

Different people use YouTube – make up artists; beauty bloggers; gamers; music artists, as well as television companies, to name a few. TV companies use YouTube as a second platform to advertise their shows. Gamers use YouTube to talk about the newest games, even uploading videos of them playing said games, which gains a massive following. Beauty bloggers have become increasingly linked to YouTube over the years, with the rise of vloggers like Zoella, Tanya Burr etc.

Even with the rise of this particular section of YouTube, the word ‘vlogger’ has become a standard term – someone who creates video blogs.

YouTube was created by three people. The first video on YouTube was uploaded by one of them, Jawad Karim –

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But the people behind YouTube don’t come up with the content alone, it’s up to the users to upload. It’s not just the videos, but the interaction that users can have on the site. Users can both like and dislike videos and leave comments below and even the comments can receive likes or dislikes and comments or ‘replies’. Like a comment Inception. You can subscribe and ultimately make YouTube your own, with a home page dedicated to videos you may like or channels you’re subscribed to. Without audience and user participation, YouTube would cease to exist.

Online TV

When I sat down to think about what I would write for this blogpost, a few things came to mind. But one that I thought was particularly relevant now is the media convergence that is online TV.

When I think of online TV, I think of Netflix, Amazon Instant Video and Now TV. But there’s another, one that most of us probably use – BBC iPlayer. Used to catch up on any TV you’ve missed or to watch live TV on your laptop. We’ve come a long way from not being able to watch our favourite programmes if we’re doing something else, as we can now catch up at a later time.

But the BBC have gone further. It was announced in March 2014 that, due to budget cuts, BBC Three would cease to be a channel and would move online. And it did, on the 16th of February.

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The new BBC Three homepage shows its “Best Of”. BBC Three is known for its documentaries, particularly the Life and Death Row series. It gives the user a list of topics, so that it is easier for regular and new viewers alike to find what they want to watch. Then there’s the “Daily Drop” feature, where something new will be published everyday.

This is a new form of online TV, it’s interactive but it’s familiar. This article talks about the increase of online TV and how more people are watching TV online than on their TV’s. Not only can we watch TV programmes online, but now a TV channel has moved online. Is this the start of something different?

“Top 500 sites on the web”

I once heard about this website in a lecture, where you could see what the most popular websites in the world were. If you were to think about what websites we use on a daily basis, you could probably guess correctly what the most popular website in the world is. But I find it intriguing to see websites from other countries come into it, websites we may not know of, as it gives us an idea of how individuals like ourselves in other countries use the internet.

The website is called Alexa and is, curiously, owned by Amazon. The company itself is called Alexa Internet, inc. and provides web information, collects web traffic data and rankings of websites from all around the world.

On the website, you can see the top 500 websites internationally, by country or by category. It ranks the websites, and posts a short description underneath of the website and its uses.

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I don’t think it’s particularly surprising that the most popular website is Google, but it is interesting to see different websites we might not know of – such as Baidu.com or Qp.com, both Chinese websites.

Personally, I thought it would be a good online source for this module because of how useful it could potentially be. It is also interesting to see how websites that we use compare on a wider scale and how, in comparison, we looked at the history of the internet last week and this website shows the extent to which it has grown. To put it into perspective, 500 websites seems like a large amount. However, this website shows that there are less than 1 billion websites, so really 500 websites are just a small fraction of the amount out there.

 

Joanne Clark