How does convergence affect the relationship between media technologies and audiences?
Once upon a time the media was entirely monologic; a one way street of information travelling from the producer to the audience. Subsequently, the audience stuck on the receiving end are left with little opportunity to respond or react to the information that they’re being spoon fed. Examples of monologic media include newspapers, TV broadcasts and radio; of course over time these platforms have become slightly more interactive. For example, the comparison of radio today and radio a few decades ago… nowadays the listeners can call or text in their stories and opinions, tweet and even post on the radio’s webpage. Convergence is to thank for these improvements in such media platforms, opening a channel for communication between the audience and the media technology.
Obviously, the continuous nature of convergence hasn’t stopped there. The internet, dialogic by design, creates an open channel for conversational flow between the technology and all its users (the audience). Everyone wants to be heard and the internet is a free platform where people can participate in conversations and broadcast almost whatever they want to the world.
Using LinkedIn, members can broadcast themselves to a large audience in way that they never have been able to in the past. They can showcase their skills, experience and endorse individuals rather than writing up a formal recommendation. Professionals may either post or answer other member’s questions in order to demonstrate their professional knowledge… and much more. Audiences who engage with this social networking site cannot be categorised as the traditional audience of passive consumers but rather as prosumers who actively engage with the online platform. As a result of convergence, the notion of a participatory culture is encouraged through social networking sites that facilitate mobilization, dissemination, civic engagement and coordination.
Convergence has improved the relationship between the audience and LinkedIn by creating an online atmosphere that invites individual expression and involvement.