Smart phones, Facebook, and tablets. Oh, my! This just touches the surface on how many devices we have nowadays to connect us with each other. Don’t have my number, Facebook message me, not on Facebook, slide into my Instagram DMs. It is almost impossible to fall off the map. And what’s more impossible, turning a blind eye to media.
So what makes us so connected? Is it our constant longing for human attention? What about our obsession with knowing everything that is happening in the world, at all times? It’s both, but you can blame media convergence. Media convergence is the interconnectivity of platforms and devices. In English, you can now watch your favorite television show on your smart phone, tablet, computer, or desktop. You can catch a basketball game LIVE on Facebook. That’s media convergence. And it’s changing the world!
How might you ask? Well, there are three ways it is altering the way we interact with media, companies, and each other.
The first and most important way media convergence is changing the world is the rise of big data. Media convergence is one of the reasons companies can literally market to you anywhere. Because all of our internet touch points are being tracked in combination with our devices, the ‘eye in the sky’ knows exactly what you Google. It knows exactly how long you spent watching Netflix today- 5 hours, #alwayswatching. It is changing what companies know about us. We are no longer apart of a demographic, we are categorized by our online behaviors. Don’t believe me, every time you see a “like us on Facebook” plugin on a website you are being tracked. Every time you enter a website, there are cookies on it. However, big data is not all bad. Marketers and advertisers can now fully understand you. They can present you with products, services, and content you never knew you wanted. My only advice, watch what you are Googling late night.
The second way media convergence is changing the world is the idea of instant gratification. You can now watch your favorite shows, listen to your favorite music, or see what your friends are doing on Snapchat, anytime and anywhere. The media you want to consume is at your fingertips at all times. You can have it in the time it takes to load a mobile app, a web page, or platform. In the past, TV shows were events. Everyone gathered around the television at 8:00 PM on Thursday to watch Friends. Today, you can use your smart phone to watch it live or your DVR to record it and skip commercials. Media convergence, taking couch potatoes to the next level!
The third way media convergence is changing the world is creating media producers out of media consumers. Social media and Web 2.0 are a direct result of media convergence. You can create posts, tweet, take pictures; in a matter of minutes. And with the rise of instant gratification we discussed before, people are doing this more and more. “How many likes did I get?” “Did you see what I just shared with you?” “Do it for the gram!” These are all examples of everyday language that has evolved because we as media consumers are also producers. And companies are capitalizing on this! What a better way to get people involved with your marketing campaigns then having them make a video for you. Every day more companies are turning to curated content to push out to their consumers. And what better way to know what consumers want to see from advertising then letting them do it themselves.
Media convergence has changed the world in many ways. It allows for media consumers to be in control of what they consume and when. It lets them create their own media and most importantly it gives us, marketing, communications, and advertising professionals insights into the consumer behavior that we have never had before.