Chapter 6: 21st-century media and issues

6.12.2 Communication is the key in streaming (synthesis)


English 102, February 2021

We communicate in ways that we do not realize as communication. These ways of communication consist of verbal, visual, written, nonverbal, facial expressions hand gestures or body language. Then the questions come such as Why do we communicate in these ways? In more depth on my topic why do viewers watch streamers live? Is it for the gratification of being acknowledged in the chat, maybe it is being part of a community of common interest, does it bring you entertainment, is it their gameplay or is it just wanting to interact to get you through your day or rough time? How does the communication from streamer to viewer work? Gaming platforms such as twitch help answer these questions about interactions and creates a discourse for viewers to streamer. 

When I hear discourse, I think of how a person is socially accepted in a group by the way they use their language and how the discourse helps to identify that person. A discourse, in “What is literacy? by James Paul Gee Explains a discourse as “an identity kit” or how one navigates though society knowing and performing a specific role (19). Having similar views and morals of a certain discourse in terms of how one must be within that discourse and one must oppose criticism within that discourse to be part of the group. Having control of a secondary discourse is mastered through the process of acquisition. To acquire a specific characteristic to function in a natural way is how people control their discourse (20). All these statements above are how James Paul Gee describes literacy.  

With knowing what literacy is, we can now see how literacy is used in streams. Streams are connected to discourses through creating groups and chats. Knowing the literacy can also help determine why viewers want to interact in stream chats. Streaming is a secondary discourse.  

In the article, “Don’t just watch join in” by Abigail Reed Arienne frachaud et al. explains how experiences of live streaming helps create the interaction between viewer and streamer on streaming platforms. The interactions happen in various ways such as production information, reception information, reaction information and reward information. (2) By observing how streamers on twitch, dooleynotedgaming and gotholion, over a period they gained enough valid information to on go the research question. These research questions gathered by observing and monitoring the live stream helps obtain the data needed. The data collected what favorite to least way of interactions were taking place and how they were taking place (5-8). For instance, when a viewer navigates to a twitch stream to view a live stream, they announce their presence by typing a question to the streamer or simply just putting their thoughts on the stream. The thoughts they type on the live chat during stream engage with other viewers watching and the streamer. This engagement is all part of a community which helps build a relationship between audience members (9). Viewers show appreciation of the streamer with the positivity in the chat.  

This correlates to “What is literacy” by James Paul Gee on discovering your discourse by acquisition. Streaming is a secondary discourse, as I described in the paragraphs above you can tell viewers are using powerful literacy (Gee 23). Powerful literacy is control of a secondary discourse that can serve “a meta-discourse to critique the primary discourse or other secondary discourses (Gee 23). Obviously, we do not just learn about video games and streaming its something to be acquired. This brings me to my next article on what leads to these interactions.  

Second article, “Why do people watch others play video games? An empirical study on the motivations of Twitch user” by Max Sjoblom Juho Hamari explain that viewers view streams for the gratification and why do viewers watch streams for hours upon hours (6). The viewers want the content of live broadcasting “real time” rather than a television broadcast. The study enlisted an investigation of five ways to motivate the viewer to chime in a certain streamer (7). The main and overall reason people tune into a stream from the results gathered is to release tension. The findings also indicated a positive predictor of how many hours users watch a stream. Tension release also is important motivator not only by how many hours watched but by how many followers and current people in the live chat (6-7). They also determine that video content facilitate interactions to communicate this meaning viewers want to engage more with other current viewers to fulfill their gratifications of the live stream (2). The last of data shows furthermore why people tune in live stream for instance knowledge acquisition, escapism, social interactions, sharing emotional connections, and the competitiveness. All these example are reason for spectatorship to a live stream (7).  

 “Why do people watch others play video games? An empirical study on the motivations of Twitch user” by Max Sjoblom Juho Hamari and “Don’t just watch join in” by Abigail Reed Arienne frachaud et al. relate to one another by why and how interactions are made on stream. What helps motivate someone to watch a live stream. These engagements also show how they are a secondary discourse by James Paul Gee standards. These articles discuss how groups are made and how discussions are created. In “What is literacy” by James Paul Gee “thinks a discourse is an identity kit” and “They crucially involve a set of values and viewpoints”(19). The previous sentence links and confirms discourse being used. 

So far you can see how literacy is being used in these articles and how they link to Gee. In my opening paragraph I mentioned that we sometimes do not know when communication is happening. For streamers just having a live web cam while playing can be enough to prove communication visually. Viewers like the engagement of other viewers and interacting with live streamer and build a relationship. I can say when I watch other streamers live, I look for the social interactions of other followers and gameplay. I do like when the streamer mentions you on there stream it makes you want to come back and watch them every time, they come on live.  

My third article, “Understanding Digital Patronage: Why Do People Subscribe to Streamers on Twitch?” by Donghee Yvette Wohn Peter Eskander et al.links how a community is created around a particular streamer. The interaction of subscribing to a streamer is key to create a digital patronage (100). Why do people subscribe to a streamer which involves paying a monthly sub fee when anyone can view a streamer free of charge. Interviews were performed on 16 different subscribers (102). From the interviews conducted the question why subscribe was answered by the subscribers saying the quality content was key selling point (104). From my experience it is because of how you and that streamer interact with one another. For instance, I support a streamer named king Kaplow and supported him for about 6 months now. He does follower Friday games and supporter Saturday games I get to talk to him one on one. He teaches you as you go on position and strategy.  

By reading all three articles I can see how a discourse is happening within streaming. From analyzing the research questions in each article with the data outcomes I can say we found most answer on why and how viewers interact with streamers during live streams. The most recurring statement is the interactions happening not only viewer to streamer but viewer to other viewers and streamer to other streamers. We see how platforms like twitch make viewers feel welcomed to a stream. We can say there are multiple motivators in which viewer engagement is key form of communication. By the interactions happening we can correlate this to why people subscribe to a person stream that is reoccurring payment of 5 dollars a month split between streamer and platform. We can see examples of how Gee explains literacy by finding a identity kit in which this case is video game streams, a secondary discourse, and live chatting a primary discourse.  

In conclusion, this essay goes over how and why communication is key. How different forms of communication (languages) can be beneficial to streamers. The ways that communication are beneficial to streamers are by viewers engaging interacting with other current viewers during the live stream, by gameplay content the streamer provides, by getting on a personal emotional level with the streamer to become gamer friends, In which return the viewers ultimately subscribe and support a streamer. These main examples are how Gee talks about discourses. The discourses that relate to these articles are secondary discourse by the acquisition process.  

Works Cited

Wohn, Donghee Yvette, et al. “Understanding Digital Patronage.” Proceedings of the Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play, 2019, doi:10.1145/3311350.3347160. 

Sjöblom, Max, and Juho Hamari. “Why Do People Watch Others Play Video Games? An Empirical Study on the Motivations of Twitch Users.” Computers in Human Behavior, vol. 75, 2017, pp. 985–996., doi:10.1016/j.chb.2016.10.019. 

Diwanji, Vaibhav, et al. “Don’t Just Watch, Join in: Exploring Information Behavior and Copresence on Twitch.” Computers in Human Behavior, vol. 105, 2020, p. 106221., doi:10.1016/j.chb.2019.106221. 

Gee, James  paul. “What Is Literacy.” Journal of Education, 17t number , 1989, pp. 18–25. 

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