“Some fear the media is out of control; others that it is too controlled” (Jenkins, 2004). This accurately describes society’s current standing, and the increasingly technologically savvy 21st century that we are experiencing first hand.
Media, in all its forms has served as a platform to immerse society in, making people subject to conform to the pressures of technology. However, the anxieties of technology that once presented themselves have taken a turn in regards to changing attitudes. With ‘old’ consumers once being deemed compliant, the so called ‘new’ consumers have become actively involved (Jenkins, 2004), challenging media control.
“ They are fighting for the right to participate more fully in their culture, and to control the flow of media in their lives.” (Jenkins, 2004)
As the process of convergence exists as both a top-down producer driven process and a bottom-up consumer process (Jenkins, 2004), this is where major tensions have transpired between producers and consumers. The function of convergence has become a reconfiguration of media power, shifting patterns of media ownership.
Today consumers are actively participating in the flow of media; they have an impact on the production and consumption of media content. This is primarily through the proliferation of user-generated platforms, such as Instagram. The success of instagram comes down to its regarded ideologies and the structure of the application. With instagram you can quite literally snap on the go, snapping whenever you please and whatever you please (unless deemed inappropriate by Instagram). There is control given to users, allowing them freedom to follow and unfollow who they please, comment on and like what they want.
However, the problem with instagram is the ongoing debate surrounding the ownership of photos, which can be applied to Jenkins nine sites of negotiations between producers and consumers. The sixth point discussed by Jenkins raises some interesting issues in regards to redefining Intellectual property rights. It suggests that if every person’s work, or in this case photos are protected under intellectual property rights, it would potentially jeopardize the public’s right to engage in a free and creative culture (Jenkins, 2004).
While there is no doubt that Instagram has created a global community, it is the technological shift between producers and consumers that will undeniably continue to cause future tensions.
Jenkin, H, 2004, The Cultural Logic of Convergence, International Journal of Cultural Studies, Vol 7, p.33-43