Convergence Culture: A Different Approach

Put things together.
Make stuff.
Convenience.
Media.
Convergence.

Okay, that was my attempt at a Kanye West-esque rap song, but since I’m not cut out for any type of song writing nor am I married in a family that NEVER seems to end I’ll just stop and think.

Media convergence is all about making things more accessible and convenient. By having a phone plus internet, music, messaging and games, it makes our life has humans easier. While in deep thought of this, I began to wonder if media convergence could only be considered a merge of different media platforms OR whether it could also be considered  as  a convergence on one particular person.

I thus realised that I was going to take a different approach to this. Instead of focusing on an item or product that is media convergence, I would talk about someone whose success is based on media convergence.

Kim Kardashian.

I know, I know, you’re probably reading this and being all like, “Are you on drugs?” And although I’m not on any of the illegal stuff, you could say I’m high on education and ideas.
*enter your Year 12 English teacher with lipstick permanently stuck on her teeth and a twinkle in her eye despite the fact she got called a fat b**** FOUR times last period*

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The convergence of sad Kim

Anyway, I think Kim Kardashian is one the best examples of media convergence (or at least helps me understand most of the concepts).  She is the basis for a reality TV show, she currently has three apps – Kim Kardashian: Hollywood, her own personal app Kim Kardashian West and has her own emoji line Kimoji – she has a website/blog, a clothing line she created with two of her sisters, countless fragrances and cosmetics lines just to name a few.

Kim K is a media empire. She has amassed a huge cult following all over the world because of her multiple businesses that have converged into one multi-million dollar brand. And it suppose it is pretty great when that brand is literally yourself.

She is proof that media convergence is necessary when building up a particular brand or even just marketing a particular product. People want a huge array of things with Kim’s name plastered all over them just as people want a phone that can give them everything they want at a click of a button. However, when does it become too much? What happens when a smartphone morphs into something totally different, or strays too far away from its original purpose?

Fun fact: Kardashian autocorrected to Sharkskin on my laptop. I just had to put that out there.

 

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Welcome to a Murdochracy

 

Hear no, see no, speak no

“Murdochracy”. I have to admit that I didn’t come up with the word – it was mentioned on a 60 Minutes story back in 2011 – but I wish I did and I would probably be walking around campus with a lot of pride if I had.

An investigator on the story that detailed the now defunct News of the World phone hacking scandal – which saw not only celebrities and politicians targeted, but also murder and terrorism victims and their families – was largely due to Rupert Murdoch’s control over global media and how dismisses his role (even as a Chairman) in the whole event.

That criminal offence combined with a downplay of his part in the scandal  is exactly why it matters who owns and controls the media. It does matter who controls what we as a global society read, see or hear. It does matter how an individual conducts themselves when preparing news stories and it does matter how the information we are given has been gained in the first place.

Capture
Little bit of Murdoch-influenced propaganda. Excellent. – August 2013

 

For Rupert Murdoch, a man whose own political opinions and beliefs are known to make headlines in Australian newspapers, to say that he is not aware of wrongdoings such as the phone hacking scandal while they are happening is not only ludicrous but disrespectful to those effected. Simple. As. That.

 

However, despite his obvious influence over international media such as newspapers and television stations, he has one type of media he cannot control: social media.

Facebook is a huge multinational company that connects over a billion people worldwide. Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook, is always posting on his own page about updates, initiatives and personal opinions and keeping up to date with user needs and desires.

Never before (on such a global scale at least) have we been able to direct message or comment with a powerful CEO such as Zuckerberg. From what used to be a complicated if not impossible system to contact someone in such power has now become something that can be done with a click of a button.

Unlike Murdoch who relies on viewers and people to buy his newspapers, Zuckerberg is literally in control over one billion people directly. Facebook has become such an unprecedented media platform – but just because it has popularity does not mean it is perfect or that Zuckerberg is an international treasure.

Media is ultimately a story of control. It started with newspapers, then television, and now the internet. Murdoch may have a large portion of control now, but as this generation and the next progresses, social media will completely destroy newspapers and new internet platforms will take its place.

And that will make all the difference in the world.

Image credit: http://theconversation.com/murdoch-and-his-influence-on-australian-political-life-16752

Read/View more:

http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2011/jul/06/phone-hacking-77-victims-fathers-horror

http://sixtyminutes.ninemsn.com.au/stories/8273213/bad-news

When Santa Met Cola: An Interpreter’s Dream

Santa Claus is an international figure that basically represents everything Christmas. He is the reason that younger siblings wake you up at ridiculous times (and let’s be honest, anytime before midday is not only rude but totally unfair) to open gifts from a magical man who abducts tiny humans with strange ears and commits them to slave labor the rest of their lives.

Riiiigggghhhhttttt.

I have a theory that someone told good ol’ Santie to take a selfie, but he misinterpreted and thought they said take an elfie instead. *zzzzzzzingggggggg*

Coca Cola was developed in 1886 and started off with a measly nine people served daily. Present day, over 1.9 BILLION consume Coke on a daily basis and has become one of the largest companies in the world. It also tastes absolutely fabulous at McDonalds with a medium McChicken meal and a Chicken ‘n’ Cheese on the side. (Don’t judge me okay, it’s late at night and I’m soooo hungry).

Don’t have anything to do with each other, right?

Wrong!

Coca Cola has been credited with actually developing the depiction of the modern day Santa Claus. In early depictions, he was quite skinny, wearing a green suit and if I’m gonna be a hundred percent truthful, he looked super creepy.

Now he is seen as a jolly, large older man – the Grandfather type figure for younger children. Because of such a successful advertising campaign, he started wearing Coca Cola red suit; a tradition that continues on into the present day.

“Ho ho ho I’ve come to creep” – Actual quote by early Santa

 

The advertisement for Coca Cola depicted below can be viewed in a variety of ways. When you first see the image, you see Santa Claus hugging a small child with a Coca-Cola in his hand. It is the denotation – what you are literally seeing and initially interpreting in your mind.

No wonder Santa has weight problems…

When you look closer and look for the signified meaning behind the ad, you are confronted with images that can reflect not only your knowledge on the subject but also previous feelings and experiences.

As everyone knows, St Nick is a busy man on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. This ad implies that the only thing that will satisfy and refresh someone who is incredibly busy is a Coca Cola.  It also can imply to small children that if you leave a Coke out for Santa on Christmas Eve, he will stop – pause – to refresh himself and you might get the opportunity to see him! 

In this image – or any image for that matter – the connotations attached are literally endless. A person may examine this image and gain a totally different understanding to someone else. In this case, I think it evokes happiness and satisfaction. Christmas is a time of the year that is meant to bring families together, share gifts with loved ones and for some, to say thanks to the Lord for his sacrifices. In addition, Santa Claus is a symbol of hope for a lot of small children whose eyes light up on Christmas morning when they see the gifts they have received.

This then becomes an association with Coca Cola as a brand – you see Coke supplying happiness and giving you extra energy to complete those tasks that are sometimes too difficult.What a magical drink full of magical goodness!
Image credit:

https://jimaddox.files.wordpress.com

 

I’m not rude; I just Grew Up Online

My mother and my grandmother are constantly asking me why am I on my phone all the time. Sometimes, it isn’t really a question – more of an entry point to start a World War Three-esque attack on my generation and the generations after me. I’ve been told how rude it is – how unnecessary it is – to be online all the time.

And before I used to sit there and let them have their rant while I watch a cat in a shark costume ride a vacuum cleaner and tag my friends in informative mind-maps about historic Australian figures.

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Informative Mind-Maps about historic Australian figures

But now, since enrolling in Communications, I have come to realise why:

It is all we have ever known. 

In Kindergarten, I remember having ‘computer time’ where we would use programs like Kid-Pix and play educational games.

All through primary school, we had an hour or two a week as apart of our class work to go into the computer lab and use Microsoft Word, the Internet and play games.

It is completely embedded in our minds – we have worked hand in keyboard with computers and the Internet since we were born. 

I can understand the current media anxieties that some individuals and groups have about our use of the Internet, as well as our phones and computers. But often you’ll find that it isn’t the people who are using those things extensively that have the anxiety – it’s those who haven’t been exposed to it as much as us, or people who simply don’t understand how social media and technology works the amount we do.

And fair enough – humanity has a tendency to freak out about the unknown; especially when it comes to technology. The Y2K bug is a classic example of this. The global society began to become significantly concerned over how computers would react by changing from “99” to “00”. People immediately became critical of computerised technology and how it will only negatively impact our society and the negatives out-way the positives. However, when the clocks ticked over for the 1st January, 2000, very little problems actually occurred.

Media and technology have definitely dramatically changed the way we interact with other people and how we complete activities and tasks – but this doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It has made human life easier, more convenient and a lot more entertaining. Older generations lived fine without it, but they never had the opportunities and the choices that we do now.

When we are on our phones, laptops and watching television, we aren’t being rude… we just grew up online.

Who? What? When? Where? How? WHY?!?!?!

Who? Larissa Churchill

What?
I study sometimes and might get a degree at some point.

When?
How the hell should I know? Jeez get off my back you inanimate object, goddammit!

Where? 
Thankfully near a beach and NOT in the Middle of Nowhere, New South Wales, Australia.*

How? 
WOAH. No one needs to know THAT much in depth.**

WHY?!?!?!
2015 me: WHY ARE YOU YELLING AT ME AND OVERUSING PUNCTUATION?!?! I DON’T KNOW OKAY?! YES I’LL CLEAN MY ROOM EVENTUALLY BUT IT ISN’T EVEN THAT BAD YET!

2016 me: As a second year UOW student, I’ve had at least 12 months to get to know the university and become familiar with Wollongong in general. As a undergrad psychology student in 2015, I became increasingly aware that this particular degree wasn’t for me – and that I desperately needed a course change.

I may only be a week into my Communications and Media Studies (Marketing/Advertising) degree, but I can’t believe how much more intrigued and involved I am in my studies compared to this time last year. I am also so surprised at how quickly I came to the realisation of WHY?!?!?! I am here. I am here to work hard, maybe meet some like-minded chicken schnity enthusiasts (I’m not fussy, beef is fine too), and graduate in a degree that I am passionate about. I am at the beautiful University Of Wollongong because this is where I believe I will get the best opportunities not only during my time here but also after I graduate.

I feel like I am also here (whether face-to-face or just blogging form) to show that just because you start with a particular degree, doesn’t necessarily mean you will finish with it. And that’s okay! Already having a HECS debt of nearly $3,000 for a degree that is basically worth nothing now (think of how many cheese and bacon fries could have been bought… THINK OF THE GOON!! safe and responsible consumption of a non-alcoholic beverage) is bad enough, but having a $30,000 HECS debt for a degree that I despise/will never use/will never frame/will be shoved in that one drawer that will never see the light of day… is SO. MUCH. WORSE.

Find something you enjoy and love, and the question WHY ARE YOU HERE?!?! will become significantly less daunting; and infinitely clearer.

*Middle of Nowhere, New South Wales is actually a place.

**If you would like to know HOW I am here right now, click here.