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The Book I Have Not Read

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I’m about to recommend a book I haven’t read — dangerous territory, to be sure. But I think I’ll be vindicated from what second-hand info I have on it. It’s called Convergence Culture by Henry Jenkins. It was touted on Sunday in Hoyt Purvis’ column in the Northwest Arkansas Times. Purvis is a UA professor of journalism who many years ago signed off on my master’s thesis, much to my relief. About Jenkins’ book, he says this:

If you want a better understanding of what’s happening in the shifting media environment, this is a good place to look. Jenkins considers the multiple media systems that coexist, with media content flowing fluidly across them. He sees convergence as an ongoing process of intersections between different media systems. Jenkins stresses the growing significance of “grassroots convergence” in which bloggers and others operate in an arena where the barriers of entry into the marketplace of ideas have been lowered. These grassroots intermediaries, says Jenkins, can function outside any corporate or government system.

If you wish for still more endorsement, see the Publishers Weekly blurb on the book’s page:

Henry Jenkins, founder and director of MIT’s comparative media studies program, debunks outdated ideas of the digital revolution in this remarkable book, proving that new media will not simply replace old media, but rather will learn to interact with it in a complex relationship he calls “convergence culture.” The book’s goal is to explain how convergence is currently impacting the relationship among media audiences, producers and content, a far from easy undertaking. As Jenkins says, “there will be no magical black box that puts everything in order again.” Jenkins takes pains to prove that the notion of convergence culture is not primarily a technological revolution; through a number of well-chosen examples, Jenkins shows that it is more a cultural shift, dependent on the active participation of the consumers working in a social dynamic. He references recent media franchises like Survivor, The Matrix, and American Idol to show how the new participatory culture of consumers can be utilized for popular success and increased exposure. Jenkins’ insights are gripping and his prose is surprisingly entertaining and lucid for a book that is, at its core, intellectually rigorous. Though wordy at times, Jenkins’ impressive ability to break down complex concepts into readable prose makes this study vital and engaging.

If you read it before I do (which you may — I’m three books behind already), let me know your thoughts.


Written by daveedmark

December 22, 2008 at 3:22 pm

Posted in Communication, Public Relations

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