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Chapter one of the Convergence Culture by Henry Jenkins introduced the concept of collective intelligence. I learned that collective intelligence is the combination of a group of people with different expertise working together to form a knowledge community. Jenkins discussed the television reality show Survivor, which was designed to spark people’s curiosity and engaged in the contestant’s adventures.

Through the freedom of telecommunication, Survivor fans formed online knowledge groups. Their main goal was to figure out who would win before the show concluded. Television transformed into an interactive game and the viewer’s motivation was sparked by doubt and the desire to seek out the truth. As viewers banned together, each person’s expertise added to the knowledge pool. The more a person contributed, the more respect they earned with the community. In some cases, more information only fueled people’s speculations of contributor credibility. Many debates arose about the fundamentals of truth, but Jenkins (2006) points out how this collective intelligence challenges the role of experts.

Due to convergence of media and collective intelligence, experts with academic backgrounds are being challenged by groups of people with real-world experience. The elitism of expertise is broken down by the collective work of the masses. Although it seems like the start of an information revolt, I think there must still be checks and balances. There is a reason why Wikipedia isn’t respected as a creditable source for a dissertation. Experts with the academic background have the advantage of a set rules and systems that validate their wisdom and hold them ethically accountable to society. In contrast, knowledge groups are temporary and only serve as a means to an end. In this case, it was to figure out who won Survivor. Both the viewer and the producers of the show played the game, which made the television show more interesting in the end.


Jenkins, H. (2006). Convergence culture. New York. New York University Press.


One Comment

  1. I like that you point out the potential for an information revolt. As someone who often bounces between my academic elitism and having been a grunt in the educational field, I love that the process has the potential to become much more democratic insofar as many voices can chime in to contribute to research and policies. One also has to become discerning in detecting which voices are worth listening to in all of the noise.

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