The objective of the COMPACT project is to increase awareness of the latest technological results among key stakeholders in the context of social media and convergence. The dissemination planned will be based on key areas that impact the convergence of social media including scientific, political, cultural, legal, economic and technical areas, to name but a few.
This is particularly essential to provide knowledge support, but also stimulate an appropriate debate among the various stakeholders (policy makers, regulators, the business community, technical specialists, academics and the public at large) on the desirable future policies and frameworks that are required and lacking in the state of the art concerning media and content convergence.
Additionally, the project seeks to provide research on and experience-exchange of policy and regulation strategies. The aim is to support the R&D digital programs by spreading the innovative ideas and also the innovated outcomes in the age of convergence. To achieve this, the project will offer analyses and road maps of related initiatives. In addition, extensive research on policies and regulatory frameworks in media and content will be developed, integrating crucial topics such as: the types of regulation that are possible, sensible, and currently implemented, joined with contextual analysis of the corresponding issues; court case study on the types of cases that are brought before domestic courts and their implications on fundamental rights, the ways in which domestic courts review interference with fundamental rights in the pursuit of public interests, and the impact of court decisions on national laws and policies concerning social media and convergence; and future trends and recommendations in the policies and regulatory frameworks in media and content convergence.
As a European project ideally COMPACT will cover all EU countries, although the involvement of additional countries is not excluded (upon an agreed scheme of selection). The dissemination process of the outcomes will be of a rather geographically widespread nature but focused only on specific groups or individuals, as media and content are by definition the resort of a wide and diverse group of stakeholders. Thus, the project will tackle both the public and the private sector, and with that the policy makers, the academies of science and the universities, but also indirectly communicate with the ordinary users and consumers the benefits of ICT aiming at including the future participants in the creation of the novel trends in social media and convergence understanding and regulation. All of the accomplished results will be compiled and classified by special compendia.
The project is dedicated to offering comprehensive and up to date overviews/synthesis in the most logical way possible that would pave the way towards a structured explanation of the novel phenomena in the convergent environment. In turn this will lead to the balanced protection of the stakeholders’ fundamental rights versus responsive regulation schemes. On an everyday basis and to the benefit of any common user COMPACT results will be distributed through press releases and other communication means encompassing the discussion and practices exchange during the relevant seminars.
In most general terms convergence means areas or processes coming together. However, there is no one accepted definition of convergence and often it is rendered in a more or less descriptive manner. It is important to state that so far much difficulty had arisen in defining the notion of media convergence. Media convergence can be explained in many ways – through the convergence of the media and the telecommunications’ sectors, through the convergence of the media and the new communications services and the emergence of common platforms and services between various operators, hardware and software manufacturers, print, electronic and new communication service outlets and Internet service providers, or as the convergence of various networks or different media content in the digital age.
By and large convergence can be perceived as technical convergence – ‘coming together of different equipment and tools for producing and distributing news’ or as socio-cultural convergence referring to the ‘flow of content across multiple media platforms’, suggesting that media users nowadays play a crucial role in creating and distributing content. Convergence therefore has to be examined in terms of social, as well as of technological changes within society (Jenkins). Yet convergence happens at four levels, which are closely interrelated (Latzer, 2013a): Technological convergence plays a leading role and basically stands for a universal digital code across the convergent communications sector. It is also discussed as network and terminal convergence (Storsul & Fagerjord, 2008). Combined with technological change there is economic convergence (Wirth, 2006), including market convergence on the meso- and macrolevel, and corporate convergence on the micro-level. Thirdly, political convergence is discussed as policy and regulatory convergence, leading towards integrated regulatory agencies, models and laws for the mediamatics sector. Finally, there is socio-cultural convergence, also discussed as sociofunctional, rhetorical and receptional convergence (Storsul & Stuedahl, 2007, Brun´s concept of produsage) and as convergence culture (Jenkins, 2006). This includes the implications of the convergence process for genres across media, for media-usage and reception patterns and for popular culture.
A) A conspicuous feature of the COMPACT project is that it will represent a holistic approach in the compilation, dissemination and recommendations for the research on the latest technological and policy developments in convergence and social media, but also in the development trends among the policy stakeholders. By examining how the technological and the socioeconomic aspects of media and content convergence are interrelated, it will contribute to bridging the gap in the understanding of the research and policy making processes among the different stakeholders. This will provide insights into the feedback from the stakeholders to media/content functions, based on the roadmaps and the research agendas that will be the product of the project. Currently, this bond is mostly seen unidirectionally, which burdens the research and policy exchange in convergence and social media. This is an increasingly important topic both for social interactions and media governance.
B) Collected, compared and analyzed information about various strategies and roadmaps from a technological and social perspective should provide indirect support for R&D programmes through the dissemination of outocmes and organisation of scientific and/or policy events. The EU supports 27 technical projects focused on social media and convergence. Overall, there are dozens projects that tackle social media (over 18,0000 mentions in the CORDIS database) and over 500 mentions of “social media and convergence”. Obviously, this data does not include nationally or locally funded projects or private sector commercial research.
C) In detail the project will provide comprehensive information, analysis and development of research agendas and roadmaps, pre-standardisation initiatives and stakeholders´ coordination within convergence and social media.
Read full document here: Categories of pre-standardization initiatives
Editors: Ana Hećimović, Munir Podmuljak
Contributors: Bissera Znakowa, Lukasz Porwol, Adegboyega Ojo