The definition of convergence, simply put, is “the blurring of lines between two different types of media.” An example of this are smartphones. They combine telecommunications and computing in one device, two media that were separate beforehand.
There are three types of convergence: technological, economic, and cultural. Technological refers to the specific types of media that converge into digital media, such as paper newspapers switching over to blogs. Economic refers to the merging internet companies with with traditional media companies, such as when Comcast merged with NBC. Cultural refers to values, beliefs, and practices are shared between different cultures, such as an American soap opera becoming popular in Russia.
There are eight major changes that are taking place in communication today due to convergence. The first one is that media organization changes by advertisers switching from advertising on radio to the internet. The second is how media type is changing by companies switching their medium, again like newspapers switching to blogging. Media content has been changing as people have started to prefer to binge an entire season in a few days rather than one episode a week. Media use has changed from blogs being personal to them being used by the news to distribute information. Media distribution has changed by people distributing content, such as entertainment, via the internet rather television. Media audience has changed based on how people can now provide instant feedback for a tv show or movie, rather than writing a letter to the makers. Media profession has changed based on how it is required for employees to understand how to create digital content. And finally, attitudes and values have changed since production companies have made an effort to earn our trust as viewers so that we absorb their content.
Mass communications are messages sent out to large groups of people. There are four functions of mass communications. The first is surveillance, which provides information about issues and events to the audience. The second is correlation, which is how media interprets issues and events and how the audience will. Cultural transmission is when a dominant culture will transfer to a smaller culture, such as women in Thailand adopting the values of the characters of Sex in the City. And the last one is entertainment, which sole purpose is to entertain the audience.
There are three basic theories of mass media. The first one is General Mass Media, where there are four different kind of communication:
- A message is sent to a sole reciever
- A message is sent to many recievers
- An anonymous message is sent to an audience
- Audience is passive of the information sent with no action taken to provide feedback
The second is the Shannon and Weaver Theory:
And finally, the Schramm-Osgood thoery
The most accurate of the three theories is the Schramm-Osgood method, as it takes into account how we process messages and how we create them.