The Convergence of Politics

991232-748c6710-e8f6-11e2-b459-490c5143e0a3Image source: News.com.au

The way that I receive content today is very different to how my Nan received her media content when she was my age. My Nan used to receive all her content from the radio, television and newspapers. Therefore, these media’s (except for perhaps newspapers with the allowance for letters to the editors) are a one way media, they only produce information and do not receive anything back from the audience, this is better known as Analogue flowing content.

While the media I consume is digital content, the information flows between me and my device and the content also now ‘flows across multiple platforms’ (Jenkins 2006 p17).  This certainly has changed how individuals use media. Although this is where I argue the relevancy of Murdoch Newspapers in today’s society and why they have such an important place for deciding election outcomes. Even Alcorn (2013) states that Murdoch is ‘irrelevant’, though personally I believe the Murdoch media is a great example for the demonstration of convergence as he cannot just rely on his Newspaper’s he must also employ his other medias such as Sky news and News.com.au to place his agenda forward in the public sphere. Though politics is also starting to become a great example of convergence.

Politicians are increasingly using social media to connect with their constituency. The convergence of multiple devices into a singular device such as the mobile phone, have aided politicians in constantly updating their constituency on their daily events. Through platforms such as Instagram (Kevin Rudd former Australian Prime Minister famously uses), Facebook and Twitter. Of-course this also means the Smart Phone has not only integrated a computer, instant messaging and a phone into its operating system but has also converged multiple social media platforms into a singular device. I believe this has allowed politicians to better engage while they are out of the office. Also often you will see politicians twittering while question time is occurring in Parliamentary sittings as this allows them to provide their view point on the current debate even if they do not have the point of order. They can publicize their opinion on an online medium that costs the user nothing.

As Jenkins (2004 pp. 41-41) states, convergence has allowed producers to alter their relationships with consumers with one of the ways being to ‘re- engage citizens’. This is exactly how I see the current political use of the media. The use of social media platforms I believe is a way to re-engage the citizens in politics and allow them a way to easily contact the member.

How does your local member employ social media?

-Amy

References:
Alcorn, G (2013), ‘Scoff all you like, but it’s too early to write off the media mogul’s partisan papers’, The Age, 16th August, viewed 28th August. <www.theage.com.au/comment/murdochs-voice-still-reaches-voters-20130815-2rz7l.html>

Jenkins, H. (2004) The Cultural Logic of Media Convergence, International Journal of Cultural Studies, 7/1, 33-43.

Jenkins, H. (2006). ‘Worship at the altar of convergence: A new paradigm for understanding media change’. In H. Jenkins, Convergence culture: Where old and new media collide (pp 1-24). New York: New York University Press.

 

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14 thoughts on “The Convergence of Politics

  1. Well I had a look for my local member and he is nowhere to be found on social media, not even an official Facebook page. Mind you, I’m in a safe National’s seat, so there wasn’t the same kind of desperate campaigning here as we saw in more marginal seats. Do you think that politicians using social media such as Facebook and Twitter is primarily to target “the youth vote”, or is widespread enough (ie; media convergence has been so successful throughout the generations) that it’s now a campaigning tactic targeting everyone? Good post, enjoyed the relevance.

    1. Really? Woah my local Labor member is on instagram, twitter and Facebook.
      That is odd about your member.
      Yes it is the youth vote to an extent but I think it is wide spread as I no my mum follows a lot of them on Facebook and likes to see what they have been doing. It easier for them to share I think, rather than through the official channels/

  2. And don’t forget about K-Rudds AMA! http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/1lbe0s/i_am_kevin_rudd_the_prime_minister_of_australia/ Haha.
    I think it’s great, obviously some do it better than others, but it’s also interesting how different politicans use it differently. Obviously Kevin Rudd was quite effective in his use of it (I thought) and it was obvious he was happy to post personal things along side the political. When Julia Gilliard was PM and tweeting many of her tweets would either be signed “JG” or “JGTeam” to differentiate the source.

    I just think its interesting that as well as connecting with their public, using convergent media means that more of the politicians private lives are publicly available, which is often an occupational hazard most politicians try to avoid…

  3. When I want to read the news I only look for it online, it is where I want it, at any time that I choose to view it – unlike radio and television which are scheduled so I have to wait to see the news of today. While convergence has allowed for the presence of politics to be even more present in our daily lives – like as you mentioned politicians reaching out on social media and other areas of cyberspace.

    I always question the intent for politicians to be on social media a ploy to get younger people motivated to vote for the them merely because they reach out on a medium that is relatable – thinking the ignorance of youth would guarantee some votes; is the idea to be on social media from the politician or a P.R gimmick?

    Convergence has been able to provide us with a more ‘personal’ idea of what our politicians represent, though gets taken advantage of like in the Australian election just past when politicians used an ad loophole and continued to advertise their ideals, plans and scrutinize the opposition – shown http://www.abc.net.au/news/2010-08-19/pollies-slip-through-web-ad-loophole/950402 Convergence has allowed for altering relationships, thought get taken advantage of when it comes to individual ideals. Nice post.

  4. I also question politician’s use of social media; They are masters of persuasion and it is an obvious political tactic, but I rather enjoy the idea. It’s nice to have a more personal insight into the lives of those that have the ability to run our country and have such profound effects on our daily lives. We have a dramatically increased chance of communicating with them and convergence is behind this new found interactivity. Obama’s success in the ’08 election has been strongly attributed to his use of social media, specifically in attracting younger voters to his policies http://www.europeanbusinessreview.com/?p=1627

  5. Great use of example. Yeah see I don’t even watch TV so all my news is gathered from online sources. It’s just interesting comparing the Major Australian Parties Online Presence. From what I’ve seen there is SO MUCH Labor propaganda floating everywhere but hardly any Liberal propoganda. Maybe nobody wants to share Liberal’s propoganda? haha!
    And even if you compare Rudd and Abbott on Twitter, Rudd has over 1 million followers, Abbott has 200,000 – I suppose this election proved though how online presence didn’t lead Labor to victory as Murdoch’s media is pervasive enough to convince a statistical majority of Australians to support the Coalition.

  6. Great post and very topical as always. You must be upset about the election :/ It always amazes me how important public figures have immersed themselves in social media in order to keep up with the time, especially when its public figures as important as politicians. I think I always consider social media as just something for the youth, not anyone actually important. But these days with technology at our fingertips its almost hard to avoid.

  7. Great topical example, however the post seemed really bland with a lack of any direction. Too much statement of fact and not enough exploration of the topic. I felt like I wanted to be told how this convergence you’re talking about would effect the future, in general or using your own topic of the political context. I feel that really held the post back as a fully fleshed out read. I guess I would have liked you to take your own stance and give an opinion on the worth of the issue.

    1. I did state it allows engagement of citizens that is my opinion. You cannot judge the future yet as this is still a new area of politics and also some politician’s have hardly taken up social media or at all, while others such as KRudd are 100% committed to updating their social media.
      Also in giving an cemented opinion it would rather be a biased post, left leaning, I prefer to try and write an unbiased post.

  8. This was an interesting read, in my political activity in the recent week I have learned how much the Labor party and how some of the liberals use social media to their advantage. Its great when you can get up to date info of someone like Kevin Rudd’s twitter or even just see what it was like during his days as PM (May we miss them very much in wake of our new chimp overlord xD) I agree that the use is a great way to get the population into politics again. I really enjoyed reading this and ask why didn’t you look at the convergence on twitter during the election week? I noticed in the Australian trends everyday for the past week there has been some Political discussion over one hashtag or another. 🙂

  9. I personally feel that politicians and other figureheads are realising this is the age we live in, and that it’s important to embrace the advantages which social media can endorse. While the opportunities to connect with youth online is helpful to their campaign, I do not believe that it is restricted to this at all.

    This was evident when Kevin Rudd was personally taking questions for an hour on Reddit. I was actually shocked when my brother announced “Hey, Rudd’s on Reddit!” at first I thought that’s not normal, for someone running for Prime Minister to be on a social media site, chatting to the public. But I concluded that it was actually very normal – especially since the Labor party represent themselves as having strong ties with the community.

    I feel this quote from Kevin Rudd’s AMA on Reddit underlines the importance of digital media with regard to Rupert Murdoch owning 70% of print media in Australia:

    “Mr Murdoch’s views are also reflected virtually every day on the front pages of the above newspapers. The Australian people will decide whether they think this is fair and balanced reporting…in the meantime that’s why it is so important for all you guys out there in the social media space to express your own views and opinions on what’s important to you in this election campaign. KRudd” – Kevin Rudd August 29 http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/1lbe0s/i_am_kevin_rudd_the_prime_minister_of_australia/

    I am glad my newsfeed has been full of political banter surrounding the election, as many of the above have stated, we get our news online – traditional print media does not interest me one bit.

  10. Interesting points you make about Politician’s use of social media. Do you think that regulation should be implemented as to how politics interact with the public and each other?

  11. I must say I do disagree with the comment that suggested that being active on social media could be a PR gimmick. I think that of course, PR professionals would advise MP’s to be active on platforms such as twitter and facebook, but a gimmick? It’s more of a vital aspect of communication today and a way of demonstrating that you are approachable. It’s an interesting example, that is for sure.

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