The Process of Convergence.
We define convergence as “the coming together of computing, telecommunications, and media into a digital environment.”
Convergence is a slow evolving process that is taking place in front of us. We can see this all around us as once before paper products such as newspapers and mail came in paper formatting. Today, we rarely see paper in our hands, instead everything appears on our screens.
With that in mind, we can ask, “Well, how does convergence take place?”
Kirby Ferguson, a YouTube content creator, who created a series that answers that question. “Everything is a Remix” explains how all great creations (books, movies, songs, technology, etc.) have gone through a process of “copying, transforming, and combining.” These are all the elements of creativity. All creations just didn’t spawn out of thin air. Nothing is truly original, everything comes from something. Everything is a remix.
A great example of this is how Apple copied, transformed, and combined the technology of an emerging computer company to bring forward the personal computer.
When we think of the innovators of computers, Steve Jobs and Apple comes to mind, but it is Xerox we should be thanking for getting us the computers that we are using right now to read this.
Xerox created the computer to be used more in a professional business setting. At that time it was too expensive for the common household to purchase a personal computer. Steve Jobs and apple were able to use this technology and transform it to make it a household appliance, just like a TV or a radio. They designed it to make it more intuitive, and when the easier something is to use, many more people eventually will learn how to use it. This proved to be true as we know have Apple just sold 19.25 million Macs in the past year alone and is the main tool we now to connect and communicate with people.
Now what does this have to do with convergence?
Convergence is only possible because of the elements of creativity: copy, transform, and combine. We are only able to advance in convergence as we are able to build upon the technology, culture, and economy that we currently have.
When Apple was able to bring the personal computer to the market for the common household to use, it gave birth to a new technological convergence.
It is also important to understand the principle of “Everything is a Remix,” also explains the principle of convergence as it evolves.
For example, mail. With the U.S. postal system established in 1775, letters were a main medium of communication for as long as we can remember. Then after the surge of the computer revolution, the rise of e-mail came to the forefront. The concept of e-mail has been around since 1971 but became popular in 1996. E-mail wasn’t difficult for people to understand due to the familiarity of how mail was used. Hence a new form of convergence began to unfold. All this was due to how we copied the idea of mail and letters, we transformed the concept using the internet and computers, and combined them to form e-mail.
In conclusion, the elements of creativity are not only for creations, but it also used, whether we know it or not, through convergence. Convergence is a remix of forms of communications. Convergence will always continue to happen as we continue to allow creations to flourish. When technology, that effects how we communicate, is a derivate of some other idea or creation, we know convergence will follow in its footsteps shortly after.