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The Convergence Crisis

An Impending Paradigm Shift in Advertising

Joanna L. Jenkins

The Convergence Crisis tells the story of an impending paradigm shift in advertising. Beginning in the early 1840s with the birth of the first advertising agency and momentum spurred by industrial systems, the book provides a historical overview of significant events and socio-cultural economic factors that have occurred to explain how and why a [convergence] crisis has erupted in contemporary American advertising. Significant blurring of once-distinct boundaries and redistribution caused by convergence has led to new methods of communication being used in advertising and among audiences. The book intends to bring awareness, clarity, and understanding to the opportunities presented through convergence via its rich historical narrative and theoretical framework.


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Part II: Triadic Convergence, Insights, and Implications


part ii triadic convergence, insights, and implications · 6 · overlapping phenomena Triadic Convergence The concept of convergence was introduced to mass communications dis- course in the 1980s through the works of Ithiel de Sola Pool. In Technologies of Freedom (1983), de Sola Pool explores how advances in technology impact society, policy, and freedom. He identifies a convergence of modes that can eradicate the boundaries of communication established by the market and government legislation. In 1980 former chairman of the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) William Paley affirmed the prescience of convergence within industry. Pa- ley stated that while corporate ventures were preoccupied with establishing boundaries and defending territory, the extent to which they were being drawn together by the vast revolution in electronification—innovations that allow pulses of electromagnetic energy to embody and convey messages—was ignored (de Sola Pool). Nicholas Negroponte further explores insights associated with conver- gence. Negroponte was among the first scholars to introduce convergence into the lexicon of popular culture through his writings in Wired Magazine and Being Digital during the 1990s. The intrinsic relationship between popular 126 the convergence crisis culture and advertising facilitated a greater acceptance of this phenomenon. However, conceptualizations of convergence were often broad and indirect, which contributed to obscure interpretations. In contemporary discourse convergence is most commonly used to iden- tify the phenomenon of the integration and merging of media, technology, and culture (Danesi, 2012). While difficult to map or to locate, and fluid almost to the abstraction, convergence is a complex mechanism...

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