Saturday, February 27, 2010

Convergence vs. Divergence

I am doing a book review for New Media and Society and one of the books has a small section on convergence. Immediately it popped into my mind that the whole convergence thing is wrong, and always was.

It's divergence and diversity we should be focusing on.

The important thing is not, say, that many functions are accessible on our iPhone or Android phone, and that those devices are examples of convergence (many functions converge on one object, although these two examples are somewhat after most of the talk about convergence). What is important, and is the flipside of convergence, is the many things we can do--a divergence of functions and channels that we can access and use. There was email in the 1970s. Now we have blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Skype, cell phones and SMS, and a variety of other communication options. Yes we can access all of those on our iPhones and Android phones and such (convergence). But it is not about how any one device can do so much. It's about how much we can do. That is far more important.