Tag Archives: collaborative bibliography

Collaborative Bibliography: Technological Convergence


There are many forms of convergence. However, in this blog post I will be focusing primarily upon technological convergence using the recent development in mobile phone technology as a prime example. Being a lover of technology and gadgets this is a subject which I find fascinating! First it is important to define exactly what convergence is:

 “the merging of distinct technologies, industries, or devices into a unified whole”

Technological convergence refers to the trend for different technology based systems or devices to evolve and unify to perform related tasks. A fantastic example of technological convergence can be seen through the recent development in ” smart” mobile phones which now perform the roles and functions that used to require numerous separate electronic devices.

I experienced this first hand when I recently upgraded my five year old ancient Nokia handset to a swanky new HTC Wildfire smartphone. This was a slightly reluctant move on my part as I didn’t feel that I needed to have so much technology to hand at all times. However my new phone definitely proved me wrong! Whereas my old phone had just provided basic phone functionality along with a poor quality digital camera, my new smartphone has effectively replaced my MP3 player and camera and is definitely more portable than my laptop computer! I use my phone for the following applications:

  • Portable Music Device
  • Camera
  • Camcorder
  • Internet Browser
  • Gaming Console
  • Organiser/Calendar
  • Social Networking
  • Email
  • Music recorder/basic Digital Audio Workstation!

The number of devices and functions that modern smartphones integrate into one handset really is astounding and with the app market booming and fast developing technology who knows what features will be added to phones in the future. I don’t think they should even be called phones any more as my HTC handset seems to be able to perform everything my personal computer does but on a smaller, more portable device. This integration of functionality can be found across a range of technology based products and services ranging from games consoles which play films music and video games to the internet itself which developed from a simple protocol network to provide users an almost endless range of media which can be shared to reach audiences globally.

Mobile Technology Convergence Characteristics and Number of Users

This type of convergence gives us the convenience of many devices in one product which saves on cost, size and time. The only problem is if your phone (or other convergent device) breaks your left with nothing to use! Another argument against this  is that individual devices which are made for doing a specific task usually perform better at that task. Therefore sacrifices are made in quality of each function the device provides. However, convergence usually prevails over time as the quality of the converged technology develops and the quality of each function improves. Smartphones are definitely here to stay and it is predicted that by 2014 there will be one billion smartphone users worldwide.

For my contribution to the social media class collaborative bibliography I would like to provide a link to the following journal entitled “Predicting the emergence of innovations from technological convergence: Lessons from the twentieth century”. The work features in-depth case studies where industry experts predicted that multiple technologies would converge to create an entirely new product and therefore an entirely new market. It also examines the differences and similarities between the various case studies presented and looks at why some ideas for technological convergence have taken longer to be accepted by the public than others.


Convergence image 1  from http://paddylevy.edublogs.org/files/2010/07/convergence1.jpg

Convergence image 2 from http://lh5.ggpht.com/_YjQRbm0VL9I/S09Gihn7v_I/AAAAAAAAAe8/qjDuy_md8Ok/image10.png?imgmax=800

Smartphone users image from http://www.parksassociates.com/blog/article/pr-march2010-smartphones

Merriam Webster. (2011) Convergence Definition [Online] Available from:http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/convergence [Accessed: 7th November 2011]

Schnaars, S.  (2008) Predicting the emergence of innovations from technological convergence: Lessons from the twentieth century [Online] May 2008. Available from:http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/convergence [Accessed: 7th November 2011]



Collaborative Bibliography: Creative Commons


In my last blog post I discussed my personal views on digital piracy and some of the issues surrounding this much debated aspect of digital media. In this blog post I will be talking about the other topic covered during the digital piracy lecture, the Creative Commons organisation. Creative Commons is an initiative which “increases sharing and improves collaboration” by providing various forms of media which is available for users to legally share, manipulate and expand. It provides an alternative to copyright laws which were created way before the advent of the internet and awareness of this digital movement is steadily growing. This is shown by the coverage the Creative Commons received by the BBC news this year when they published a guide to how media found online can be used legally. The creative common’s mission statement and overall vision can be found here.

Creative Commons Logo

I knew nothing about the Creative Commons before this lecture and found it to be an interesting and intriguing prospect to allow innovative remixes, samples and ‘mashups’ to be created without the producer running the risk of facing legal copyright repercussions. In my opinion, youtube videos and other digital media that has been created by combining aspects from various media sources has allowed some phenomenal production’s to be created and shared such as Madeon’s Pop Culture remix and original interpretations of film and computer game soundtracks. For me one of the joys of the internet is that it allows interesting and entertaining collaborations such as these to be created, shared and discovered! I feel that over stringent copyright laws stifle people’s creativity and I feel it is a massive shame that amateur and semi professional video makers get their videos removed from youtube just for featuring copyright music when it would cost them a fortune to get the music properly licensed. If the copyright Nazis had their way ‘Madeon’ would have to pay to sample each of the 39 songs used previously mentioned video!

An original interpretation of a theme from the “Monkey Island” computer game series

Remixing has always existed within music but through a slightly different form- instead of through digital means it has been through bands and artists covering jazz and blues standards and then adapting and evolving the music and songs. I believe this to be a natural musical process and a good thing as everything is always influenced musically by something that came before it and sometimes covers can even be improvement upon the original. A recent film titled “Everything is a Remix” made by New York based Kirkby Ferguson which takes the viewpoint that everything media related is a “remix of something else” as oppose to “everyone is stealing”.

“Everything is a Remix” By Kirkby Ferguson

However, some critics question whether the Creative Commons organisation can provide the financial support required by artists and see the Creative Commons as just an alternative or  replacement of the old copyright system. The following journal looks at how useful the Creative commons license actually is for musicians and artists. Despite this, I feel that the Creative Commons movement seems like a bright future for sharing and using copyright material in the digital era without facing legal problems. Another implication of widespread use of the Creative Commons initiative would be allowing teachers the freedom to use a large amount of legal media content to use as a teaching resource – surely this can only be a good thing?! More information on the Creative Commons in regards to teaching can be found here.

I think the following links will also be useful for other social media students who are new to this concept and wish to learn more about the organisation and how to properly use and attribute Creative Commons content:


Creative Commons Logo from http://creativecommonssingapore.files.wordpress.com/2008/09/cclogolarge.png

BBC. (2011)  Copyright group Creative Commons targets web users [Online] June 2011. Available from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-13961051 %5BAccessed: 18th October 2011]

Schaeffer, Maritza. (2009)  “Contemporary Issues in the Visual Art World: How Useful are Creative Commons Licenses?” [Online] May 2009. Available from: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_7081/is_3_26/ai_n28457434/?tag=content;col1 %5BAccessed: 18th October 2011]

Educause Learning Initiative. (2007)  7 things you should know about the Creative Commons [Online] March 2007. Available from: http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ELI7023.pdf %5BAccessed: 18th October 2011]