Just before the onslaught of midterms began, I noticed that Netflix added the third season of one of my favorite shows, The Walking Dead to its instant queue. I waited for months and endured plenty of conversations that threatened to spoil the season for me before I could finally watch it. And boy did I watch it, I went through the entire season in the less than a week! That is a lot of zombies. You might ask how I managed to accomplish such a feat. I can only attribute this amazing feat of round the clock viewing to my iPhone, which served as my anytime, anywhere zombie viewing machine. I watched on the way to class, while waiting for a meeting, while my roommates danced around getting ready to go out on Saturday night. I was hooked and it was all because I didn’t have to run home to my laptop. Before the advent of live-streaming technologies on smart phones, this wouldn’t even be possible. This, quite like Henry Jenkins’s example of shopping for a single function phone, is “a powerful demonstration of how central mobiles have become to the process of media convergence,” (Jenkins, 5). Jenkins talks about a digital revolution and that media convergence would mean in some cases that “old media would be absorbed fully and completely into the orbit of the emerging technologies,”(Jenkins, 5). This point is evident because as Jenkins quotes George Gilder, “the computer industry is converging with the television industry…” (Jenkins, 5), which applies to my ability to watch a television show on my laptop. With new live streaming technologies however, this convergence also applies to the convergence of the Internet and the television with the mobile phone. As Jenkins’s experience reflects, customers are no longer looking to buy a phone for its capacity to call other people, but to access the Internet, watch movies and television shows, and send messages back and forth. Smart phones are now less of a phone so much as a mini computer. While I’m grateful to the advancement in technology that allowed me to watch people kill zombies, I can’t help but wonder what good a day or two in The Walking Dead universe might do to show everyone that our society is starting to define itself by our technological abilities.
Jenkins, Henry. “Introduction: Worship at the Altar of Convergence.” Convergent Culture. New York City: NYU Press, 2006.1-24. Print.