Anyone who has taken CCT 505 can tell you a little bit about media convergence, the topic of Henry Jenkins’ book, Convergence Culture. In the book, Jenkins’ notes: “…once a medium establishes itself as satisfying some core human demand, it continues to function within the larger system of communication options…Printed words did not kill spoken words. Cinema did not kill theater. Television did not kill radio. Each old medium was forced to coexist with the emerging media…Old media are not being displaced. Rather, their functions and status are shifted by the introduction of new technologies.” (14)
This week in the world of media, I found two interesting spaces of convergence: the launch of Clicker, and the New Oxford American Dictionary’s Word of the Year. Each of them demonstrates “old media”—dictionaries (printed word) and television—and the convergence with new internet media. Here’s a quick summary of what folks are saying in the blogosphere:
Clicker’s core functionality is a combination of a directory, a search engine, a DVR recorder, a wiki, and an entertainment guide. The directory consists of a browsable list of all programs by title, category, popularity, date of airing, and the network it was aired on…Clicker also has tools that let people share content on Twitter, Digg and Facebook, [Ryan] Massie said. “Over time, you’ll see Clicker itself become a more social experience and leverage communities like Facebook and Twitter,” he added.
As massive amounts of programming move online, consumers are entering a world of infinite choices, all on-demand. Great! Finding the show you want to watch? Painful. Thousands of episodes from thousands of shows are housed on thousands of different sites, mixed among billions of random clips and videos…Clicker boasts more than 450,000 episodes, from over 6,000 shows, from over 1,200 networks. They also contain 40,000 movies and 50,000 music videos from 20,000 artists. They refer to themselves as “one part directory, one part search engine, one part wiki, one part entertainment guide, and one part DVR.”
Critics, like myself, worry that this new unveiling will further encourage individuals to stray away from watching television. On the other hand, others argue that Clicker.com is taking a right direction in preparing for Web TV, in other words integrating the worlds of television and the internet.
On the New Oxford American Dictionary’s Word of the Year
Without further ado, the 2009 Word of the Year is: unfriend.
unfriend – verb – To remove someone as a ‘friend’ on a social networking site such as Facebook.
As in, “I decided to unfriend my roommate on Facebook after we had a fight.”
“It has both currency and potential longevity,” notes Christine Lindberg, Senior Lexicographer for Oxford’s US dictionary program. “In the online social networking context, its meaning is understood, so its adoption as a modern verb form makes this an interesting choice for Word of the Year. Most “un-” prefixed words are adjectives (unacceptable, unpleasant), and there are certainly some familiar “un-” verbs (uncap, unpack), but “unfriend” is different from the norm. It assumes a verb sense of “friend” that is really not used (at least not since maybe the 17th century!). Unfriend has real lex-appeal.”
Over the past few years, dictionary makers have seemed to jump at announcing social media related terms as the new words that deserve the recognition treatment. “Twitter” was announced by the Collins English Dictionary earlier this year as a new entrant, and “Facebook” was the word of the year back in the end of 2007.
And according to the dictionary’s blog, other terms that were under consideration this year included hashtag, sexting, funemployed, tramp stamp, intexticated and birther….
On PR/Marketing/Viral Verve–Esther Steinfeld
Has “unfriend” wedged its way so deeply into our vernacular that we’ve failed to realize that the verb, “to friend,” does not exist? Or, again, does it matter? Does “friend” need to be a verb for us to understand what it means to “unfriend,” really?
Eventually, the quickness with which we put out information really will overshadow the quality of the words, no matter how painful the downward spiral into colloquialism may be. It’ll be a battle to the starting line. Who can get the information into a tweet or post with the most speed instead of the most style.
What do these two examples tell us about media convergence in this particular moment? Are there forms of media that are going to become obsolete? Why or why not? What problems may arise as convergence continues? How does old media ensure its continuation? How does new media revive old media? What are some other examples that you can see which show this convergence?