How does convergence affect the relationship between media technologies and audiences?

How does convergence affect the relationship between media technologies and audiences?

In today’s interconnected, technologically shaped society, the world is actively connected to a broader community across various platforms through convergence. Convergence of technological platforms, such as Tinder, greatly affects media technologies and especially audiences, and these outlets in return influence Tinder. The audience aspects of accessibility, participatory culture, activism and online identity shape a strong relationship between Tinder and its users. Tinder is radically influencing social changes regarding romance, where it’s the audience who are generating content and contributing to this change.

Convergence applies to many media platforms and technologies like apps, devices, being both a technological and cultural process (Moore, 2014). Technology and society is continuously changing. Technologies such as Tinder reflect the demands and values of society, and society reflects and influences changes in technology; they are both interconnected and shape each other. Convergence is a term supported and explored by Henry Jenkins, Provost’s Professor of Communication, Journalism and Cinematic Arts at the Univeristy of Southern California. Jenkins defined convergence as ‘the flow of content across multiple media platforms. Convergence describes technological, industrial, cultural and social changes’ (Jenkins, 2006, pp 2-3). Convergence is triangulated. It shapes and is affected by audiences and technologies, through the movement of information across the world. Technological convergence is shaped by; minimizing costs, user friendliness and practicality. Convergence is also defined as ‘coming together of two of more distinct entities’ (Jones, 2007), which encompasses technology and society. Convergence is a broad term used to describe a broad range of people, technologies and platforms, all of which are affected by convergence.

Cultural and social changes in regards to online dating, relationships and intimacy are epitomized through the dating app, Tinder. Developed in the University of Southern California in late 2012 by three self-confessed hopeless romantics, Sean Rad, Justin Mateen and Jonathan Badeen, they created Tinder to connect you with other people who are interested in you. (App Store, n.d) Tinder exemplifies the concepts of convergence, as described by co-founder Sean Rad, ‘it is a digital extension of our instinct to connect on a deeper level with one another, romantically or otherwise.’ (Rad, 2014) Tinder is a convergent technology because of the various content (photos, text, personal information) flowing across different mediums (apps, websites, smart phones) from people across the world. Tinder requires its users to have a Facebook account for identity verification, where it displays your age, interests and mutual friends along with six photos. Tinder also requires various platforms to function and you can also exchange email addresses, phone numbers and meet in person, emphasising the state of convergence of Tinder. Whilst the app is wildly superficial, Tinder does reflect the current changing societal perspectives of relationships, intimacy and hook-ups (Morris, 2014). The strong relationship the audience has with this technology is enhanced by the relationships created on Tinder, satisfying the migratory audience’s online social desires.

Tinder complies with the concepts of convergence predominantly due to the ease of accessibility and limited gatekeeping, allowing high rates of participatory culture and audience engagement. Tinder is a diologic[1] technology, which has minimal gatekeepers[2] or restrictions promoting participatory culture (Moore, 2014). This is achieved through the accessibility of the app. A user must have a Facebook account to download the app for free on Apple and Android phones, and once your identity is verified, you are ready to use Tinder. With lack of monitoring and gatekeeping, it permits people to more actively engage with Tinder and creates a unique participatory culture, where people use computer screens as a mask, where we aren’t confronted by the consequences of our actions, where we gain a false sense of freedom and confidence’ (Haynes, 2014). You can access the app on your phone anytime of any day, permitting you have internet access, with users checking Tinder approximately 11 times per day (Ayers, 2014). Along with the ease of using the app, the technology of Tinder influences and affects its audience, where they can engage in easy social interaction with minimal effort. The ease and freedom of Tinder is a primary convergent concept, strengthening the relationships between audience and technology.

Through the ease of accessibility comes strong participatory culture, where the audience connects with people and the app itself. Jenkins defines participatory culture as ‘a culture with low barriers to expression and engagement, support for creating and sharing, the audience believes their contribution matters and they feel a sense of social connection’ (Jenkins, 2006). Audiences engaging in Tinder initiate or receive conversations with their ‘matches’[3] creating a sense of community as participants talk about themselves and their interests. The majority of Tinder’s audience are Millenials[4] who are more likely to engage is casual hook-ups than serious relationships at university (Bogle, 2008), making this app incredibly appealing and addictive. The app was not designed specifically for hook-ups like its competitor Grindr[5] however, it’s the changes in attitudes of society, which have embraced these opportunities and shaped the purpose of Tinder ‘to get laid’ (Epstein, n.d) … new stigma attached to dating app @tinder#bcm112(@missaaadelaide, Tweet, 2014) explains how Tinder is changing the societal stigma attached to online dating, through this media it explains the changing affects Tinder has on audiences and the technology itself. Tinder’s audience have a shared understanding that it’s for hook-ups, contributing to the online community created. This convergence of the audience utilising the app has ultimately lead to the success of the app and satisfaction of its users.

Tinder provides many opportunities for its captivated users, requiring the audience to transform from ‘clicktivists’ to ‘activists.’ Clicktivism[6] and Activism[7] is mostly associated with ‘participatory politics,’ however, on a smaller, non-political scale, lies Tinder, which resembles similar difficulties of turning clicktivism into activism. Whilst engaging in clicktivism, you can be swiping left and right, and chatting to matches from the comfort of your home in your pyjamas, requiring minimal physical effort. Obviously depending on the individual you have been engaging with, the act of meeting up to go on a date requires a lot of physical effort, and doing so is converting clicktivism and a lot of flirting to activism. An active user admits he meets with ‘3-4 of those matches per month’ (Thrillhouse763, 2014). The expectation is that you will eventually meet one of your matches as Tinder’s Tweets suggest ‘here’s how to pick the perfect restaurant in London for your #Tinder date: via @Grazia_Live’ (@Tinder, 2014). However, it is mostly used by clicktivists who where Tinder ‘complements (their) lazy and attention-seeking personality’ (Kent, 2013). According to co-founder Sean Rad, there have been over 1billion matches on Tinder (Rad 2014) where the app is responsible for over 1000 engagements (Piazza, 2014), which is a 0.0000001% success rate, representing that users are remaining clicktivists, or the Tinder flame just doesn’t burn. Despite the convergence of personal information across not only Tinder, the audience appears to leave their dates on their phones.

Individuals who participate in convergent technologies such as Tinder inherently create an online identity, which can expose them to ridicule and abuse.  This online identity can be vastly different from their ‘real’ identity because a screen acts as a mask, giving the user a sense of anonymity and associated power. Women have faced many issues throughout history, and now, online, with ‘internet misogyny (often) paralleling the real world.’ The constant misogynist perspectives shown through comments online are; ‘women who have the audacity to show their faces online are asking to be demeaned and threatened with sexual violence’ (Filipovic, 2007-2008). Purely because you identify as a female on Tinder, it immediately opens you up to an influx of sexual messages purely because you are a female. Messages such as, ‘sit on my face’ and ‘I could’ve called heaven and asked for an angel but I was hoping you’re a slut instead’ (Parham, 2013). Whilst perhaps intended as a joke as Parham suggests, the constant bombardment of sexual harassment, slowly takes its toll on the morale of individual women online (Dreher, 2014). Dreher passionately speaks of the struggles of women’s equality online and if change is going to occur, we must stop hiding behind technology to abuse others. With convergence, unfortunately brings some disadvantages for women. Despite the light-hearted nature of Tinder, the affects of the technology on its audience can be more severe than intended.

Tinder encompasses diverse aspects of convergence, with the flow of information greatly affecting its audience and the app itself. Tinder encourages audience engagement and strong participatory culture. Limited gatekeeping addresses social issues, questioning clicktivism and activism, and the constant battle of online identity and equality of women. Whilst Tinder may appear a little app that is a craze of popularity, it epitomizes the key concepts of convergence and how it affects and shapes societies, where society in return shapes Tinder.




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Thrillhouse763, 2014 How many matches do you usually get? self confidence taking a hit  Reddit, accessed 24/05/2014, http://Http://





A Girl in Many Worlds

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Transmedia Storytelling is the communication of a story across various platforms such as movies, social media, comics, video games and books, each of which explore a unique part of the story. When all different stories from all different platforms are combined, we have a more detailed and thorough understanding of the text as a whole. (, 2011).

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Mattel’s Barbie Franchise, is an example of transmedia storytelling due to the many unique platforms, ideas and concepts generated. The original form was a doll, designed for children to dress and roleplay. Generated from the Barbie doll was a whole world. There are various characters (Ken, Skipper), which live in different worlds (Fairytopia, Under the Sea) which are developed by various technology platforms (website, movies). Where people are used to consuming multiple aspects on a daily basis. (Jenkins, 2003) They are all interconnected and tell different parts of a worldwide story, relying on collective intelligence to produce a world in which everyone can immerse themselves.

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Because of the restricted nature and current hype of Tinder, it would be difficult to generate storytelling transmediality. However, using some imagination, there is definitely potential to create an encyclopaedic aspect of Tinder. Perhaps a movie of what occurs after someone is matched? Or a television series of different characters and their interaction with others because of Tinder? Perhaps the ‘swipe’ action could be adapted into other media technologies like Facebook or on television. There are already various Youtube videos which outline people’s unique interaction with others and many memes have been generated.

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Transmedia storytelling “is a fantastic spine around which to build a more intensive interactive experience” (gauravonomics, 2013), in which it is expected more company’s and individuals will need to embrace in order to maximise audience engagement and participation. Personally, I am drawn to things which contain Transmedic Narratives because I feel apart of the action and accepted within a wider community with similar interests and values. It allows me to immerse myself in another world which I can access anyway I want, anywhere I want, which in today’s consumeristic society, is the expectations. 


Future of Engagement #7 : Transmedia Storytelling, People’s Insights Annual Report, MSL group,,  written 11/03/2013, accessed 15/04/14

Henry Jenkins, Transmedia Storytelling, MT Technology Review,, written 15/01/03, accessed 18/04/14

The Power is in Your Hands

“One person can make a difference and every person should try.” – John F. Kennedy 

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In the interconnected world of ‘collective intelligence,’ everyone has unique knowledge, ideas and concepts which they can use to develop an individual idea or improve another. “Once you start contributing and sharing and connecting with the work of those who connect with yours, you’re engaging in something called produsage (Stewart, 2012). Produsage is encompassed by a larger concept – Citizen Journalism.

Citizen Journalism is where any individual, regardless of training, knowledge, background or education can contribute towards the media. (Bruns, 2007) The positive aspect of this new wave of journalism, is that it allows individuals in the midst of the action to instantaneously document and broadcast crucial information from their mobile phones, tablets or cameras (Hogg, 2009). The role of  this participatory culture is exemplified through technology’s role in the Arab Spring, where Twitter and Facebook are acknowledged for their unparalleled advances in disseminating information” (Duffy, 2011). However, critics say that Citizen Journalism is biased and shows little understanding of the bigger picture. (Hogg, 2009)

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Because Tinder is a closed source technology, there are limited opportunities for people to contribute to the collective intelligence and produsage. However, Tinder embraces the characteristics of produsage of ‘organisational shift’ and ‘unfinished’ (Bruns, 2007). The organisational shift encompasses the shift from technological professionals running the app, to a wider population able to make positive contributions. Users and critics are able to criticise, make suggestions and complaints, and although the user cannot amend it themselves, all feedback is taken into consideration. Because of this ‘organisational shift’ Tinder is in a way, ‘unfinished.’ Significant improvements to security have already been conducted as a result of people’s contribution and Tinder will continue to evolve, improve and modify its components to give its audience what they desire.

Produsage may not greatly affect Tinder, however, it has many effects on other components of our lives which influence our decisions and attitudes towards using apps like Tinder in the first place.


Bonnie Stewart, What Produsage is and why it Matters,,  July 2012, accessed 11/03/14

Matt J. Duffy, Smartphones in the Arab Spring, International Press Institute 2011 Report,, 2011, accessed 13/04/14

Axel Bruns, Produsage: Towards a Broader Framework for User-Led Content Creation, page 4,, 2007, accessed 11/04/14

Chris Hogg, Is There Creditability in Citizen Journalism? Digital Journal,, May 2009, accessed 11/04/14


The Audience Takes To The Stage

Tinder’s life source is its audience. Without its active prosumerism and participatory culture, it would cease to exist. Participatory Culture is defined, “where members feel some degree of social connection with one another” (Jenkins, 2006). The audience feel apart of a larger community as well as deep connections to other users they interact with. “In terms of personal development, identity, expression and their social consequences– participation, social capital, civic culture- these are the activities that serve to network today’s younger generation” (Jenkins, 2006)

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Relationships are formed with Tinder and through Tinder. The user exerts a sense of hope and faith within Tinder, they are optimistic, excited and Tinder delivers. The user then creates an interaction with another user, heightening their experience and creating a dependency/sense of community with the app for social reassurance, “We have become a culture of people that are almost completely dependant on technology. The technologies that started out as aides to our existence have become vital to our everyday lives” (Digital Trends Staff, 2003). 


Tinder was designed a dating app, with Co-Founder, Sean Rad, describing it as a “digital extension of our instinct to connect on a deeper level with one another” (Shandrow, 2014).  However, audiences share the ideology of using it for casual hook ups. Tinder “opens up chances to meet guys that you wouldn’t have had the chance to otherwise” (Declamatory, 2014). The target audience is for young adults who are mature enough to make sensible decisions, however, you only have to be 13 years old to register for the app (Tinder Terms of Use, 2013). Users interpret Tinder differently than anticipated and has been dubbed nothing more than a ‘shallow hook up app.’ “People don’t think of [Tinder] as online dating, they think of it as a game,” (Sandrow, 2014), never the less, did not alter the success of the app, due to audience engagement.

The success, ideologies and distribution of any technology is up to you, the audience, because without us, they would cease to exist.


Henry Jenkins, Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture:Media Education for the 21st Century Part 1,, 20/10/06, accessed 3/02/14

Declamatory, Reddit,, March 2014, accessed 1/04/14

Kim Lachance Shandrow,, 17/03/14, accessed 2/04/14

Tinder, Terms of Use,, last updated 26/03/14, accessed 2/04/14

Digital Trends Staff, “Dependency on Technology,”, written 2003, accessed 2/04/14

Tinder vs. the World

“Convergence does not mean ultimate stability or unity. It operates as a constant force for unification but always in dynamic tension with change. . . . There is no immutable law of growing convergence.” Henry Jenkins  

Artwork by Jack Powell

Society is made up of many different individuals, all with different ideologies and interests, liking and wanting different things from the social media that they use every day. Social Media has the power to influence and alter individuals attitudes, beliefs and views towards certain issues “It has never been easier to be as influential as you can be today. Information is cheap. Information is easier to produce. And if you have a quality message, it’s never been cheaper  to get out” (Zeevi, 2013). With these strong and sometimes controversial messages being portrayed, like through the app of Tinder, tension and points of conflict are created between groups.

People who support Tinder generally have a more relaxed approach to relationships, hookups and casual sex. “I really have no shame in saying we met [on Tinder], I don’t think it’s embarrassing or humiliating. I think it’s just another way of meeting someone” (Mulshine, 2013). It is redefining and removing some of the negative connotations associated with online dating.

People who have more traditional ideologies towards dating, sex and relationships are usually critical of apps like Tinder. Dating apps are often seen as “channels you resort to when you are really desperate to find love or when you are really, really at your wits end in the romance department and can’t seem to get together with anyone.” (Celes, 2011). Others also  “think sex is not a game. It is NOT! It is a responsibility. A responsibility that kids and most adults I believe are not ready to handle it.” (Marie, 2014). 

This tension between ideologies revolves around the audiences personal attitudes, experiences and beliefs. Apart from audiences, it also brings into account other factors which affect these tensions such as Globalisation and Media Aesthetics. This relationship is demonstrated through the aspect of globalisation in Henry Jenkins 9 sites of negotiation between consumers and producers.

This globalisation of Western ideas through dating apps such as Tinder is just one example of how humanity is slowly sharing more in common contributing towards shared ideologies of ideas, values, thoughts. Due to this massive technological convergence, the gap between these initially conflicting ideologies are slowly disappearing, creating a universal group who belong to an online community; Tinder.

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Daniel Zeevi, Dashburst,, written 18/02/13, accessed 28/03/14

Molly Mulshine, Beta Beat,, written 29/01/14, accessed 28/03/14

Celes, Personal Excellence,, written 11/07/12, accessed 29/03/14

Ash Marie,, written 2014, accessed 29/03/14

Henry Jenkins, The Cultural Logic of Media Convergence, International Journal of Cultural Studies, written 2004, accessed 29/03/14

I Have An Idea! *(We)

“I think copyright is moral, proper. I think a creator has the right to control the disposition of his or her works – I acutally believe that the financial issue is less important than the integrity of the work. ” – Esther Dyson
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When you are using Tinder, not only are you agreeing to their Terms and Conditions, but also Facebook’s, and combining one of the cyber-world’s biggest powerhouses with Tinder, reduces your protection of copyrights and intellectual property significantly.

Terms and Conditions have almost become a novelty, each time you scroll down and click ACCEPT, you laugh to yourself thinking ‘who actually reads that?’ But would you sign a professional contract without reading between the lines? And professionals are advising that we should be doing the same with our sign-ups to apps, websites and other agreements. (Smithers, 2011)

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The T&C’s of Tinders user agreement, , state that You grant Tinder, Co. and its affiliates a worldwide, perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive, royalty-free license and right to copy, transmit, distribute, publicly perform and display (through all media now known or hereafter created), and make derivative works from your content. In addition, you waive any so-called “moral rights” in your content.’ (Tinder, 2014) Along with Facebook’s Terms and Conditions, which state ‘you specifically give us the following permission, you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook.’ Thus between both parties, the work you produce becomes their work, in which they can distribute world-wide royalty free, making your intellectual property, public. With your thoughts and ideas not necessarily being yours anymore, the question arises about the future of copyright and protecting individuals intellectual property.

Prosumerism is how Tinder functions, people creating profiles and actively engaging in conversation or ‘playing.’ It relies on people sharing ideas and working together, contributing to Tinder’s success. However, if intellectual property is immediately stripped from the user, the future of Tinder will not be so bright. I suppose it is all in the Terms and Conditions…

Read carefully!




Rebecca Smithers, Consumer Affairs Correspondent, The Guardian,, 11/05/11, accessed 23/03/14

Tinder Terms and Conditions,, accessed 23/03/14

Facebook Terms and Conditions,, accessed 19/03/14

Aaron George, App Empire,, accessed 22/03/14

Oxford English Dictionary, ‘prosumer,’, accessed 23/03/14

Identity Theft Tips,, 04/10/13, accessed 23/03/14

Be My Tinderella?

Swipe left, swipe right, swipe left, swipe right… Congratulations! You have 1 new match! 

Tinder Time
Property of Adelaide Haynes

Ever wanted the social life of being at a bar and flirting with countless attractive people from the comfort of your own bedroom?Well now you can with Tinder. Tinder is a dating app which uses your Facebook account and GPS location to search for others within proximity to you. On your profile you have; up to six photos (only your best ones), a small section to write something witty (if anyone asks, we met in a bar),  your age and Likes from Facebook. Once you’ve done that, you’re ready to go!

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Wouldn’t That Be Nice?
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When you ‘play,’ you are presented with pictures of people in your surrounding area and you can either swipe left if you’re not interested, or right if you think they’re attractive. If someone likes you back, then you are ‘matched’ where you can then privately chat. Just sit back, relax and watch all the strange, boring, generic, quirky and cute messages flood in.

Although Tinder was created late 2012 by at the University of Southern California the  craze  captured audiences on a global level during 2013. With CEO, Sean Rad, not disclosing the amount of registered users, he has announced that Tinder has generated over 1billion matches worldwide (Ha, 14/03/14). There is approximately 10-20 thousand daily downloads and 60% of users checking it daily. With a unique approach to online dating, redefining our thoughts on casual sex and relationships(Bosker, 04/09/13). 

Social media apps, like Tinder are addictive, because of the rush of dopamine that is chemically released from your brain when you receive a like, comment or new notification (Weinschenk 11/09/12), thus fuelling the Tinder flame which has dominated the world. However, we’re constantly looking for a new craze, raising the question of how long Tinders success can last? The newest development is verified celebrity accounts, giving us mortals the opportunity to be matched celebrities within a 159km radius (Kleinman, 12/03/14). Tinder doesn’t really allow for much more development because of its simplicity and basic functioning, and eventually the craze will die, only to be replaced with something else for us prosumers to dive at.

Tinder has revolutionised the way in which we engage with others in a sexual/romantic way, allowing people to meet new and exciting, maybe a little creepy, people, boosts self confidence among users and allows people to fulfil certain needs and desires. Until the almost guaranteed extinguish of the Tinder Flame, keep on swiping.


 – Ha, Tech Crunch, 14/03/14, accessed 15/03/14,

 – Bosker, The Huffington Post, “Why Tinder Has Us Addicted, 04/09/13, accessed 13/03/14,

– Weinshenk, Ph.D in Brain Wise, Psychology Today,  11/09/12, accessed 14/03/14,

 – Kleinman, The Huffington Post, 12/03/14, accessed 15/03/14,

 – Prosumers – “a consumer who becomes involved with designing or customizing products for their own needs” =define+prosumer&oq=define+prosumer&aqs=chrome..69i57j0l5.1950j0j4&sourceid=chrome&espv=210&es_sm=93&ie=UTF-8

– Julia Naughton, Tinder Takeover, Cosmopolitan,,  written 21/10/13, accessed 14/03/14

– Caroline Kent, Tinder Review : a woman’s perspective, The Telegraph, accessed 20/04/14