Media Convergence wk6: Jenkins

For someone who doesn’t watch much television, the concept of “audience commoditization” becomes quite difficult to grasp. But that is not all, there are more concepts in Jenkins article that are difficult to grasp such as, “consumer expression,” (“that situates consumption within a larger social and cultural context” pg) “brand extension,” (“the concept that successful brands are built by exploiting multiple contacts between the brand and the consumer”) brand loyalty, inspirational consumers, zappers, (“people who constantly flit the dial”) loyals, casuals and brand communities. Ok, these are just a few ways of analyzing the marketing strategies and consumer behaviours, in Jenkins “Buying into American Idol: How We Are Being Sold on Reality TV.”

 

The concepts described above have derived from what Jenkins terms as “affective economics.” This is based on a simple argument that programming and producing a successful show involves more scams and marketing mechanisms for gaining higher audience participation, and therefore numbers. However, this statement poses some problems, especially referring to Jenkins article on American Idol. The argument is actually in the reverse. In fact, the consumer influences the programming of a show. Perhaps a little absurd, although I’m sure that there has been times when we have popped online, and perhaps joined a forum on our favorite tv program and contributed to the script, or became infuriated with a product because it has changed its style or taste, or how about a music band that has produced music for a sponsor and became “big” and then changed with that catchy damn song. We may have more power collectively than previously thought, or is it the technology that enables this consumer power. The latter forms a concrete basis of media convergence.

 

American Idol viewers got the chance to participate on the show through text messaging, and phone calls. Using mobiles phone devices and associating it with a TV show works positively two-ways.  Firstly, it gives advertisers a market to work with, and hence identify with, which draws in the concept of an “affective ecomony,” and secondly, consumers become involved with the voting system in the show. In the article under ‘Contesting the Vote’, Jenkins provides an interesting perspective. It is based on the idea of “inspirational consumers.” American Idol Viewers provided two arguments on audience participation. Some participants didn’t find text messages as credible and others like the idea. This is the basic idea of convergence in Jenkins article; in all aspects of the media process.

 

I must add as to not provide a one sided perspective that, these concepts are not based on a way of viewing an American commercial or capitalist system in the entertainment world, which we can instantly think of. Rather, it is a cultural form that consumers identify with. Sex and the City appeals females, and with so much media convergence, as ads are played, banners are displayed on buses, many more people in society have turned to becoming fans of the show. Ultimately, there is a vast array of consumer goods that enables this. Similarly, the English Premier League is the same. Living in Sydney I was unable to catch it live (the Liverpool and Arsenal match recently played), however I caught it on TV via FOX. Even though many of you reading this may not watch soccer, you have probably most likely heard of the teams, Liverpool and Arsenal. This could be through marketing, TV ads, online ads, mobile phone ads, via commodities, or communities. Media convergence is occurring around us and we are therefore able to get more media participation and can personalize our tastes and shows to any extent that we want.

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“Double Place, Double the Trouble: in Moore, Shaun: Spatiality” Week Four

In my previous blog, ‘Cyberspace Media’ I had associated Volker Clara’s reading with Spatiality (a miscalculated mistake), rather than Mobility, although there is a clear distinction between these two topics, I must state that they do both intertwine. They both deal with the idea of space and the way we use media and how it has changed our daily lives as compared to traditional forms of media. I will write another Blog on Volker’s article based on Mobility, but for now I will be focusing on Space and thus Shaun Moore’s article, ‘Doubling of Space,’ for week 4’s reading.

 

Shaun Moore has written his article in an interesting way. He begins to refer to old traditional broadcast mediums such as the television and the radio by analyzing Scannell’s concept of ‘doubling space.’ His argument deals with the media as a form that enables “simultaneity, liveliness and immediacy.”  Although he agrees with Scannell, he also acknowledges that in the contemporary society the study of media reception is not what is was. Programming was essential part of the TV and Radio channels, it defined the ‘performer and ‘the audience,’ however now with the emergence of the internet and the telephone this concept has changed. Moore uses in Meyrowtiz, Josepeh, in his article to outline this transformation of how we use the media in the modern world. He refers to Meyrowtiz and Gidden’s Anthony to show that the media, particularly electronic and digitalized forms has changed our sense of place and timing. Moore refers to Meywrotiz to explain the sense of media transforming the world to a “relatively placeless” society. However, Moore also states Meyrowtiz has “overestimated the degree of change”, and that rather we live in a “pluralized place” (p.22-23).

 

The concept of a ‘pluralized place’ is coherently constructed throughout Shaun Moore’s article. Using the concept of temporal change in daily and domestic lives through broadcast media, he outlines the concept of ‘doubling space.’ ‘Doubling space’, is more about extending time, the interruption of routine exemplifies this; whereas I previously associated spatiality with constraining space using mobile technologies, in my article Cyberspace: Spatiality. Although for most routine based people whom which may be able to associate certain situations with Moore’s article, in his concept of doubling space. I shall pose an alternative question perhaps challenging the double, extension concept of space and experience; “Do you feel that Time and Space fly’s bye much faster when focusing on two things at once?” For example, during the Olympic Games, I found myself watching an event on the job, on the television screens in stores and cafes, and then running off to work. Furthermore, the English Premier League is an example, which may double space, but not necessarily interrupt routine and if so, time certainly fly’s bye without a notice. Manchester United played Aston Villa a couple of days ago, and although my space may be considered as an extension since I’m in two places at once, in my daily routine (also considered as an interruption to routine, referenced in Moore’s article), watching the match played overseas, I can certainly state that space had to be constraint into a smaller space on my tv screen positioned near my notebook where I can view my e-mails, within distance to the fridge, and in a reachable area to my drink so that I can be anywhere around the house listening to any ‘must see’ broadcast event.’ In fact, I may state, that this concept of doubling time really depends once again on social factors.  Your social class, employment, age identify how your space is used up. Having said this, there is only one main medium that is universal, and this is the broadcast media, even so this universalism constraints space, as you daily routine is pushed back, or left behind to attend to the broadcast media.

 

Moore also argues this pluralizing place using the internet, and an ethnographic concept termed mudding. This idea of pluralizing place is dominant when exploring the concept that Moore looks at in Sherry Turkle of “creating multiple identities.” Moore also refernces Kendall’s work of 1996, and states that (p27) “Kendall’s description of her own mundane domestic practices could easily be an account of routine, distracted TV viewing in the home.” Rather than a ‘pluralization’ of place, and an extension to doubling space, I do believe that it is a form of communication once again, and pertains to your social circumstance at the time, so depending on your social class, age or even mood or situation, the internet is an aesthetic that pluralises a physical and emotional space but constraints it to yourself, rather than the concept of multiple identities. Even, the new technology, Second Life, displays this constraint in place. You may be physically in two separate worlds, but either way the place has become to be real, and set into the one place where you can loose or win ‘real’ money. There is only one world, and one identity, and pluralizing a place really just depends on your skills of multi-tasking, and other social factors pertaining to oneself.

 

Moore, uses one last example of mobile technology to outline his concept of pluralizing place. The use of ‘mobile electronics,’ in a “simulated co-presence in electronically mediated communication (pg 27)” outlines the experience of being in two separate worlds. In the preceding sections I have argued that like Moore, there are two plural places, but these places do not necessarily extend one’s experience of life, but rather decrease space and place making it smaller, and this experience depends on social factors based on the individual.

 

 Moore Shaun, “The Doubling of Place:Electronic Media, Time Space Arrangements and social Relationships.” In Couldry Nick and McCarthey, Anna, Eds. MediaSpace: Place Scale and Culture in Media AgeLondon:Routledge 2004 21-37

Cyberspace Media: Spatiality Wk6

The study of media discourse has diversified as media technology has improved and gained wider public usage. In the contemporary society our lives have been mediated through the transformation of technologies such as, what Volker describes in her article “Mobile Media and Space;” ‘mobile media technologies’ (cell phones, Semapedia, Socialight, Wireless) as compared to the preceding era, which was based on ‘digital technologies’ (wired PC computers) (p.135) . Although Volker describes the various technologies within a historical context, her argument is based on the usage of technologies in our lives as augmented into reality, rather than technologies belonging to a separate “world” that being “non-real” or virtual. Volkers article is strikingly effective in projecting this concept of the “virtual linked to physical coordinates,” (pg.135) and, that “reality does not get deprived when a new technology enters and enables our practices,” as she validates her argument by using theorists from the 90s, as well as drawing examples of technologies, as Semapedia and Socialight.
It is inevitable that with mediums such as Semapedia, whose puropse is to coordinate both the virtual and geographical worlds, or even the use of a cell phone; ‘the user’ becomes connected to different ‘worlds’ through mobility, and that the person’s world becomes mediated through a smaller space. This is clearly analyzed through Volkers article on the section of Supplementations. In that particular section of the article Volker analyzes using Semapedia as an example, the idea of information systems and networks having a place with reality, and being intertwined with human mobility. For example Volker states that, “digital informational spaces are no longer restricted to fixed places and cable networks, but hold the possibility of opening themselves almost anywhere…/and in relation to physical places or non digital virtual spaces.” In our modern society there is reason and truth in her argument regarding the virtual and physical environments being interconnected. 
Space in media pertains to mobility, it refers to a “performative practice” (p.137). Volker argues that digital technology such as wireless devices are mobile and hence virtual spaces are part of a reality. In the article Michel De Certeau and Marc Auge are referenced by Volker to show this. Both these two theorists argue that the sense of spatiality and place is defined upon history and identity. ” Regarding to Certeau’s concept, Volker states, “places are geometrically defined entities such as streets…/Space is created by acting upon given places- for eg, walking the streets- and therefore is temporal and perfomative.” Volker goes on to argue that this concept “seems quite pessimistic and hostile towards new technologies.” (p.136-137) Although there maybe some truth in both these arguments, I do maintain the idea that technology has changed significantly and it is evident that society is becoming more and more constraint in the spacial use of the media, however this has only just began. Like Auge and Certeau, this optimistic view of the world that Volker argues is dependent on the capitalist society and is not as yet emergent in a globalized society. Media tends to relate to it’s user, it is a subjective form. One’s use of the media is different to another, and there exists a universal language which everyone receives through firstly traditional mediums, such as the newspaper, or the television. On a personal level, media transforms our space, the use of GPS systems, the interconnectedness   of communication such as widgets and e-mail makes one’s space smaller, as they can personalize what news they receive, where-ever they are.
    
Volker, Clara, “Mobile Media and Space.” In Goggin, Gerard and Larissa Hjorth, Eds. Mobile Media 2007 Sydney University Press, Sydney, 2007 pp.135-142

 

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