It’s hard to remember life before digital convergence. I’m old enough that I didn’t grow up in the digital age but my time on Earth without a rich online presence was brief.
I remember trips to the library and bookstores with my grandmother, a librarian, to get most of my entertainment that wasn’t delivered to me on a television screen. I also loved my portable CD player that I took with me on marching band trips to listen to and exchange music with friends during long bus rides. Even as an adult, there were tasks like filing taxes, renewing my vehicle’s registration, and paying bills that took a lot of time and postage.
Now I can read an ebook and chat with others online as I make my way through a story. I used to be connected to my television whenever television networks decided they were airing my favorite shows. Now I don’t even have cable television through a traditional provider. I use my internet connection to watch shows through apps on my Amazon Firestick and Apple TV. (I do still sit down to watch Game of Thrones through the HBO Now app when it originally airs, because…spoilers.) I’m also a big fan of following along with fellow fans on Twitter as we watch the latest episode.
Digital convergence has given me much more control over what I see and when, where, and how I see it. I think the biggest affect digital convergence has had on my life is access. Both my access to information and services and others’ access to me. There is never a point in the day that I can’t do most tasks, whether it’s shopping online or searching for information for a school project. There are also very few times that I can’t be reached by phone, text, email, or instant messaging.
Digital convergence has created another layer of life for everyone. We maintain IRL connections and experiences daily. But we’ve also built digital lives and maintain online and technology-supported connections and experiences. There isn’t one aspect of my life that digital convergence hasn’t impacted. How about you?