Periscope

It seems like every day there’s always a new social media network on the horizon. Some have made a very prominent mark in our lives and others just haven’t taken off. Just like any product or service, the only way to find success with it, is to offer something different to the consumer.

Periscope is was created by Twitter to give people and businesses the opportunity to showcase anything they want to an audience via a live stream. The viewers can then comment in real-time or send then a virtual heart to show their appreciation.

Like Twitter, you may follow people and gain followers – whenever some you’re following goes ‘live’, you’ll get a push notification sent to your phone and it’ll appear on your timeline. However, this app also allows the consumer to explore the world through its map feature. The app shows a virtual map and shows an exact location of where streams are coming from.

I believe that this could potentially transform the way we view our news. It allows journalists to stream press conferences to the public. It could also be a way for citizens to stream major events, both positive or negative. For example, during last year’s Champions League final, I watched a stream of someone’s view inside the stadium. This was much more emotive and personal than trying to capture the atmosphere through the TV. Users also showcased the panic of the Paris attacks.

Twitter have recently included the live streams in the their own website. This means you don’t even have to change app to view these streams, making it very easy for us to see through the eyes of someone else, whether it’s for information or entertainment.

Vkontakte

I would like to introduce you to another social network called VK. You probably have not heard about it, but it is the most popular social network in the Russian-speaking world.

Initially, VK was called ‘vkontakte’ that translates as ‘being in contact’. It started just like Facebook, it was founded in 2006 by Pavel Durov who just graduated from St Petersburg State University. At the beginning, user registration was only available by invitation and was limited to university circles, but the social network grew rapidly. Now it has over 340 million registered accounts and over 81 000 000 average daily users.

In many ways, VK resembles Facebook. You can add pictures, exchange messages with your friends, join communities, create events, use it as a news source by following the corresponding pages, etc. However, VK also has imbedded audio and video players that mean that you can access almost all music available online and many films and TV shows on one platform for free.

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From the point of view of a regular user, I find VK extremely useful because mostly everything I need from the internet I can find on one web site.

However, as to implications to the media industry, VK seems to harm music and film industries because content that is usually available there violates the copyright laws. I will go in more detail about that in week 7 blog post.

Furthermore, it seems that the illusion that VK provides all the information and content you need makes it a powerful tool for propaganda. For many it is the only news source, but it cannot be said to be 100% reliable and it does not provide the whole picture. It was also widely used as a weapon in ‘the information war’ between Russia and Ukraine during the ongoing conflict to spread untruthful information and raise panic. If you want to see the famous ‘russian bots’ in action I welcome you have a look at a comment section under any post in any popular community that does not moderate its comments.

 

An Example of Convergence – Youtube

The media platform I chose as an example of media convergence is Youtube. Now although this may not be a particularly obvious example of convergence, I still believe it is.

Henry Jenkins (2006) described media convergence as “the flow of content across multiple media platforms”
To take this further, I believe that convergence will eventually lead to the fusion of all forms of media, which will result in a whole new platform that we share, view and access our media from. And Youtube, is a prime example of this.

In 2006, Google bought Youtube. Nothing really seemed to change, the website still functioned as before and only minor updates were applied to the site, so when I joined up in 2007 I was none the wiser. But in 2011, Google launched Google+ their answer to Facebook, in an attempt to get onto the social media ladder as it were. Quickly after this Google started to link Youtube channels, with Google+ accounts that used the same email. Which isn’t a bad idea right? Anyone that accesses your Google+ can now see all of the media you have posted on Youtube, and vice versa. Now I never had a Google+ account until 2013, but when I went to set one up, Google filled out the form for me because they had all of my information already from my Youtube channel. After clicking join, I suddenly found myself with a Google+ account, a Gmail account, and a Youtube account. And they all linked back to my search engine. All of these different forms of media were suddenly intertwined in one “super” account that had information on half of the stuff I access and post on the internet.

Media Convergence: Reddit

One example of convergence that is common among people our age is Reddit (https://www.reddit.com/). It is an online community where people can post funny pictures or videos, share articles, start discussions about current events or important topics, and even seek advice. People use it as a resource for information and news, and also for pure entertainment.

For example, this article about the Grammys talks about how the audience was the lowest it’s been since 2009 (http://deadline.com/2016/02/grammy-awards-ratings-taylor-swift-kendrick-lamar-lady-gaga-better-call-saul-cbs-1201703167/). This link is completely for pure entertainment but was also shared not far below the other link: https://imgur.com/YOEo0Wd. Another link that was shared includes a Youtube video with Ronda Rousey on the Ellen show talking about her defeat against Holly Holm.

Reddit brings together many different types of media (pictures, video, text and audio), and also brings different websites and sources (Youtube, Business Insider, BBC, etc.) all into one place. One implication may be that some information you find isn’t totally true. Another is that it has been notorious for being a distraction, from things like homework, or other important tasks people should be doing. It affects people’s ability to focus on a singular task as opposed to constantly multitasking.

Newspapers and the Internet

So many forms of media that we use presently are examples of media convergence. For example, the smartphone, online gaming, Netflix and other streaming services and the Kindle have all come about through the convergence of various forms of media. Another very significant example of media convergence is the creation of online versions of newspapers, and in particular, the emergence of video content on official YouTube channels of mainstream newspapers.

Due to its incredible convenience, people want to access news on the internet because it’s immediate and free. And if it’s interactive, even better. The newspaper perhaps most aligned with the establishment, The Times, has a YouTube channel on which they publish entertaining and informative videos. The Guardian also have a YouTube channel. On their channel, there are various playlists: Guardian Docs, This is the NHS, Comment is Free, Guardian Investigations and so on – much like their website and printed newspaper. So, the online video content that newspapers publish is generally and extension of their written content in digestible chunks, designed to bring more online traffic to their content as well as inform and entertain their audience.

Snapchat

SelfieSnapchat enables people to communicate with pictures that show up for a certain amount of time depending on the users choice… with or without filters.

You can send pictures to people individually or to your ‘story’ which means all your friends can view it (as I’m sure you all already knew).

You can view ‘live’ stories about important events happening at that time. This is an example of media convergence because people from all around the world can view the same stories – for example this week there has been global stories on New York Fashion Week and the GRAMMY Awards.

You can also read articles on Snapchat in a ‘discover’ section where it has a range of companies involved such as Sky, BuzzFeed, Cosmopolitan, Mail Online and National Geographic. A user has a varied choice of what they want to read.

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It also has an instant messaging option, which means no need to take a selfie in order to communicate with someone.

Implications of Snapchat is that it is only available as an app and also only available in certain app stores (for example the app is not available on Windows Phones).

Although you can save your selfies to your phone, you cannot directly share them from the app itself, which is a lack of connectivity.

Could you live without your iPhone?

Media convergence is known as the ‘coming together of media’, which according to Jenkins it is where old and new media collide. IPhone is an example of media convergence which was first launched in 2007. In the past phones have just been purely for text messages and phone calls, however from the development of the first mobile phone in 1973 to the smartphone now in 2016 has increased enormously. I couldn’t imagine life without my iPhone now, it is the first thing I check in the morning, as the features of the phone allow me to download all my favourite apps, search the web, record videos and take pictures.

This was a huge development of media convergence as technology has developed over the years. For instance in July 2007, barely 9 million American owned a smartphone – representing just 4 percent of the entire mobile market. Today over 100 million Americans own a smartphone. IPhone has been an huge development in todays society, which I personally think we take for granted. So would you be able to live without your iPhone?