When did we first hear about convergence? When did AOL buy TimeWarner? It was a while ago, for sure. The once mighty Nortel spent bags of cash buying TV assets. Convergence was going to happen but no one knew when or what it would look like. And there sure have been some huge busts in the process. (please see above)
It was a funny time. A lot of the media convergence deals took place out of fear someone else would snag that prized property, but to us simpletons convergence means, "Oh crap, I forgot to watch the Big Bang Theory." No matter, I can see it on NBC's website the next day. Missed Jon Stewart? Just get on the Comedy Network's website. For us none-media moguls, convergence is just doing the same thing we've always been doing but with different ways of doing it.
However, there are things those giant conglomerates just can't plan for. Us pions figure it out for ourselves. We cobble together technologies that work for us. My favourite example is Twitter. It went from, "WTF is this?" to "This is fun" to tweeting while the Oscars was on complaining to #oscars how The Artist beat out Rango. Or, complaining about the choices on America's Next Top Model. My favourite pastime is tweeting during #thevoice.
This is real interactivity. It's not the crazy corporate dream of being able to get us to buy shit on TV when a flashing banner pops up telling us, "Buy the sweater Heather Locklear is wearing by pressing the purchase button on your interactive keypad."
And huge corporations have in the past had been uninterested in working with technology that they didn't possess. The fact that The Voice combines, tweeting, SMS messages, phone calls, iTunes sales into some kind of scoring system to pick a winner is a cobbling together the technologies we like to use. I'm sure NBC wasn't thrilled working with iTunes but damn doesn't it work well.
Getting back to Twitter, I really think that it is the true convergence driver. It's a stream you dip you toe into, leave and then come back to later to dip your toe in again. There are communal events like the Olympics or the World Cup that are great fun on Twitter. The most recent American election, however was so intense that I couldn't read the Twitter feed it was moving so fast. They are going to have to fix that.
Why didn't the giant media companies invent Twitter? The answer is easy, it wasn't the big idea they were trying to invent in house. It was too simple. It came from nowhere. It looked like a dumb idea at first. Who knew where the public would take it? And that's the thing, there are many things we do as small businesses where we just don't know where the public is going to take it. We've had to zig and zag as our customers took us to places we never thought of when we started Your Web Department. It's been kind of exciting, actually. The key is to listen and to act.
In the final analysis convergence is about community. We love sharing that viral video, we love commenting on articles in online magazines like Huffington Post or getting involved in flam wars between Android and iPhone users. Maybe because we care or maybe we just have too much time on our hands.
The Internet is what we make it both in our business and personal lives.
LiveBuild™ For the Business Owner - We design & build your website for free and ready in 1hour