Chapter 6: 21st-century media and issues
English 102, April 2021
What is streaming? Streaming is a form of entertainment, similar to watching tv instead of simply watching you are being interactive and communicating to the streamer during their stream. In the article by Recktenwald, Daniel, “The Discourse of Online Live Streaming on Twitch: Communication between conversation and Commentary” defines streaming as “a digital media broadcast over the internet, as well as a social experience between its media users. As a broadcast, it is a live transmission by a host or ‘streamer’ about his or her hobbies to a spectating audience” (Rectenwald, Daniel). Rectenwald, Daniel helps describe the streaming, as Streaming is becoming more popular and a growing form of entertainment. Streaming is about creating content to build a community through talking and being interactive in various ways, I will describe this further in articles throughout this essay. The authors of the articles collected data by observing and analyzing streams, the behavior of viewers, the behavior to why viewers watch a certain streamer and video evidence of streamers on facebook that correlate to these streamers. Lets dig deeper into what is streaming, Streaming consists of ways of communication. The communication commonly used in streaming is talking and commenting between viewer to streamer, and streamer to viewer. I am interested in the topic of communication through streaming because I have started streaming and its entertaining. I will be using personal experience of how communication is relevant to streaming. I will answer research questions of why do viewers watch streamers? Why do streamers engage with the audience? What audiences watch streamers? What kind of equipment is needed for streamers to communicate? What kind of content do viewers look for? Why? These questions will help determine the ultimate question of communication within streaming, viewer to streamer and streamer to viewer, and how a streamers content is important to gain viewership.
First, I will describe the equipment needed to start streaming. In the video, “$1,200 FULL Streaming Setup (PC, Monitors, Mic, Webcam & MORE)” shows an in expensive way to have a gaming streaming setup. The picture above shows the basic setup needed and this is what a streamer sees. These guys go in depth as to why and what equipment is used for streaming purposes. In the video they describe what specs to have on your pc for instance having a 1600af ryzen cpu, a rx 580 rgb gpu, 16 gb 3200 mhz ram (memory), and a phantom case (pc tower) that will hold the specs. The equipment that is used for streaming can become costly depending on the quality that a streamer is wanting. A powerful pc, headset, webcam, microphone, mixer, internet, broadcasting software, mouse keyboard/console controller, lights, a platform to stream on, camera, elgato capture card, and various types of connection wires is how communication starts. Streaming on a two pc setup is ideal, one for streaming and the other is for gameplay. The setup guide is simple you connect the headset, mic, mouse, and keyboard to the usb 3.0 ports. The internet must be at least 50 mbps to power both pc’s with no latency, the settings on the pc have to be adjusted to get the full strength of the pc. After connecting the headset mic web cam mouse and keyboard there is a software that is downloaded, open broadcasting systems, to the streaming pc to go live on a platform. This is when the elgato capture card, hd60 s, is connected. There are three ports on the hd60 s an in, out, and power port. First you connect usb-c on the hd60 s then plug the usb into the pc, next you use an hdmi cord in the out port then connect the other end of the hdmi to the streaming pc, finally you connect another hdmi cord in the in port of the hd60 s then connect the other end of the hdmi cord to the gaming pc. With the capture card connected the gaming pc screen is mirrored on the streaming pc which has the open broadcasting system that allows you to go live. Typically, the web cam and mic are synced to the open broadcasting system from the default setting of the webcam and mic. A mixer can be used for the mic to ensure the best audio quality and your voice can be clear when speaking on stream. lights can be placed around the room and around the webcam so the room can be well lit, and the audience can see the streamer. This is the equipment that is used to start interacting on platforms such as facebook gaming and twitch.
The content being created is what will attract an audience. What do people want to watch, is it for the gameplay the knowledge of a game, is it for entertainment, or do people want to feel like they are apart of a community that is engaging and has them interacting. There are many kinds of content that people watch depending on the time and how they are feeling. Here I will cypher different streamers such as primetime, Hitman, Phree, and King Kaplow. why do people watch them and What kind of content do viewers look for? Here are some streamers and I describe what they do to gain viewership and the content they create for viewers to watch.
In the video, “StreamingTips!!” by Primetime gaming you will visually see and hear comments being answered streamer to viewer. In the video (below) primetime is a great communicator and shows you communication works within live streaming between streamer and viewer. He begins with I am opening chat ask me something and he starts replying. He answers a large amount of question. He also describes some equipment needed for live streams and why he uses certain equipment. He has 200 viewers at a time watching his live stream. he engages with his viewers on a high level some of the best interactions I have had is with prime. His community is called the real ones, he tells it like it is if you want to troll on him he will roast you if you want an educational answered question about streaming he will give you a great detailed answer. Primetime sits in his game room for up to 12 hours a stream and mostly communicates with the community. Therefore, people watch him he is very interactive and engaging with his audience. In this video shows evidence that people interact with primetime because he educates them about streaming as he states the equipment used for streaming and techniques, he used to gain followers. This is also a reason why Facebook gaming recently partnered him because of how engaging he is with his community. In the link given you can see how interactive primetime is with his chat. Communication between streamer to viewer is flawless as he answers questions. Heres a screen shot of prime time gaming setup and as you can see the chat on the right side the screen. He is grabbing his hands thanking his community for bday wishes. If you look at there are 1k likes, 7.9k comments and over 114k views this happens because of how engaging he is with the Audience.
In the video, “warzone time baby, lets go!”, by hitman gaming, Hitman gaming is a vulgar, using sexually explicit remarks to his viewers. Viewers watch him because of how entertaining he is with his vulgarness. Hitman gaming has over 2000 viewers watching his stream at a time and has 150,000 followers. Why people watch him is because he gets up dances, makes vulgar statements, and he is funny. Hitman is a horrible gamer but the entertainment is there. Hitman creates watchable content by being obnoxious and loud. His go to trash talk is how he sleeps with ones with wife or some similar sexually explicit statement. The way he interacts with his audience shows a different way communication is being used, he to is engaging and interactive with his viewers some may say the way he communicates with the viewers is uncalled for but it works for him.
In the video, “#2 sniper in warzone”, by Phree gaming he uses the #2 sniper in warzone to engage with the audience, numerous times during the stream people ask number two sniper whos number one. This is a creative way for an ice breaker for new viewers to interact with a new community. Phree Gaming is, a new streamer, has been on Facebook for about 2 months and has already gained 25,000 followers. He has 400 to 800 viewers watching at a time. Phree takes a different approach with his community, acknowledges every comment, follow and is very interactive with his viewers. In stream he will say I 400 viewers and only 230 of the 400 is currently following. He then asks if you are not following type in the chat what you want to see so I can earn your follow and or support. His way of communicating to the viewers is not the norm because he asks the audience how can he earn their viewership. Phree also has great gameplay analysis, during the game he will say I’m going to jump off this building throw a flash bang run to the other end of the building slide and throw a throwing knife. He then does exactly what he just described and kills the opponent. His high I.Q. of gameplay is why people watch his stream, He is one of the fastest growing streamers on Facebook.
In the video, “follower Fridays”, by King Kaplow shows his form content that he creates. King Kaplow is a streamer that lets followers and supporters play with him on follower Fridays and supporter Saturdays. This is a different approach to gaining viewers not many streamers allow the community to play with them. This is a great way to show how communication happens through streaming because king Kaplow communicates through gameplay, its entertaining, and it allows the viewer to feel like they are a part of the community.
These streamers help identify why viewers watch a streamer and why viewers engage with the streamer.
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 the data collected in “don’t just watch join in”, shows why viewers watch for example in king kaplow live streams he allows viewers to play the game along with him. They can get pointers from him, learn how to communicate with him, and he tells them what should have happened in certain situations. By him playing with supporters and followers, viewers gain the appreciation and gratification of king Kaplow interacting and engaging with his followers. Abigail Reed states “that interactions happens in various ways” for example the way the hitman interacts with the audience is by saying sexual explicit being vulgar and trash talking to his community. This is a way the community interacts with him, the communication between streamer to viewer happens in the most vulgar ways. This is also why viewers keep coming back.
As described in the above paragraphs you see why viewers watch a particular streamer. The next question is why people subscribe to a streamer? what does streamer gain from being interactive with the audience. Being interactive meaning talking with the chat answering questions, entertainment, and engaging. The objective is to grow your community by giving great content. The more followers and supporters the more rewards you get as a streamer. Becoming partner is the main goal of being a streamer. How does a streamer become a partner is by how many people engage with stream, like share follow or subscribe to the streamers page.
In the 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. In the article they researched why people subscribe and heres what they found out. “The interaction of subscribing to a streamer is key to create a digital patronage. 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. From the interviews conducted the question why subscribe was answered by the subscribers saying the quality content was key selling point. They factored six reasons why people subscribe, “The motivations were: 1) to provide monetary support to the streamer, 2) wanting attention, 3) desire to be closer to the streamer, 4) because they enjoyed the content, 5) to get digital benefits (e.g., emotes, badges), and 6) because there is educational value” (donghee 4). The interaction of subscribing to a streamer is key to create a digital patronage or community (discourse). These 6 factors are reasons that an audience watch streamers.
An audience engages with the streamer for various reasoning. In my next article, “Exploring viewers’ experiences of parasocial interactions with videogame streamers on Twitch” by Wulf, T., Schneider, F.M., & Queck, J they examine the reasons an audience watches streams. They observed and analyzed in three categories, individual, collective and no addressing and attention vs no attention with the chat. They observed how paying attention to chat and addressing chat on a personal level helps keep the audience interactive. They also observed a stream that the streamer was more interactive and a stream where the streamer was not as interactive with chat, “findings show that addressing style directly affected PSI. Viewers who were addressed individually showed higher PSI ratings than viewers who were addressed collectively or not addressed at all (Wulf, T., Schneider, F.M., & Queck, J)” and other “findings highlight the value for streamers to individually address their audience and answer chat messages. We showed that both of these elements directly influenced PSI positively and that, even more important, PSI alongside overall enjoyment (Wulf, T., Schneider, F.M., & Queck, J)” This data shows why it is important to engage with your audience and gain a relationship on a personal level. The data found also states that the more you interact with chat the more likely the viewer will come back to the stream on the next live stream.
These articles above describe why communication between streamer to viewer and viewer to streamer happens and why communication is important to a streamer. The articles correlate to the streamers mentioned in the beginning, Phree Gaming, Primetime, King Kaplow, and Hitman Gaming, These streamers all interact with there chat and get on personal levels with the audience to gain followers supporters. By these streamers engaging with the audience, you can see the data that was collected and analyzed by Wulf, T., Schneider, F.M., & Queck, J is accurate to why these streamers are successful.
The next question to be asked is why do viewers view a particular stream or how do they end up on a certain streamers page. In the article, “modeling and analyzing the video game live streaming community” by Nascimento, Gustavo & Ribeiro describe how a viewer finds a certain streamer. Channel surfing was observed and analyzed by Nascimento, Gustavo & Ribeiro “We define channel-surfing as a quick sojourn of a spectator in a streamer channel”, channel surfing is one-way viewers watch and find streamers. Also, channel switching was observed and described by Nascimento, Gustavo &Ribeiro as “Each spectator seeks to consume a content that pleases him or herself. While watching a given channel, a spectator may decide to switch to another channel in order to find a content that better suits his or her tastes”. These two-observation help define why someone watches a certain streamer at certain times. For instance, If someone wanted to learn strategic game play they could watch Phree Gaming, If someone just want the gratification of talking to a streamer they could watch Primetime, if someone wanted to watch for entertainment purposes they could watch Hitman Gaming, and if someone wanted to watch king Kaplow because he lets followers and supporters play along side with him and gives in game strategic gameplay as well. All of these streamers show various ways to push content but ultimately its up to the viewer and what they are looking for from a stream or how the viewer is feeling that day.
I will give my experience into why I watch streamers. First, I listen to how they sound the clarity of there voice on stream. I also watch for the video quality of their stream because I do not want to watch a stream that is pixelated or blurry. Next, I see what they talk about and how they talk about the topic. Are they knowledgeable in the topic of discussion, can they help educate or do they sound uneducated? Next, before I follow, I will type into the chat to see if they reply to comment. If and when I they do reply I start more conversation with the streamer and start following them. From a viewer point of view, I can say the data found in articles for this essay are accurate. For instance, the kind of content I am looking for is the mood that I am in, why I stay in a chat is because of how well the streamer answers my question or just basic small talk. I have subscribed to a few streamer pages because of how they engage and interact with me.
The purpose of my essay is to find out how communication works as a streamer. The communication and interactions happen from viewer to streamer by using multiple sources from video content created and articles that researched streams. What factors were used to describe streamer to viewer interactions. First, the studies show why interactions happen such as gameplay, gratification by viewer being mentioned by streamer, entertainment and or being a member of the community. My research started from finding live video from Facebook gaming, and seeing how content is different by each streamer. By observing these videos, you can see how and why viewers watch the stream. I then found articles in psychology, behavioral psychology, computer communication and computer technology to help describe the interactions happening within a stream. Differences I observed in these article and video of streams are the size of the viewers watching the live stream. For instance, a streamer that has over 200 viewers the chat is more active compared to a streamer that only 40 viewers. The similarities are that the viewers are watching the stream for the type of content the streamer gives its audience and the community of the streamer. Further, in my research I found why viewers subscribe to a particular channel either they feel obligated, or they want to support the stream by buying a 5-dollar subscription on Facebook gaming. What my research has ultimately found through data collection and analyzation of streamers is the reasoning for watching and coming back to the streamer live stream. The more communication that happens, the entertainment gained from watching, and the knowledge or strategic gameplay being performed engages the audiences therefore communication is key to being a successful streamer.
Other research that can be done to help understand the communication that happens on stream. Other research questions could be how long a viewer watches and stays engage to the stream? What other literacies are used within streaming? Does watching a stream help with other interpersonal skills such as behavioral, communication skills, planning, organizing, or using some form of a strategy? These questions can help further understanding streaming by observing and analyzing the data collected of literacies, by observing interpersonal skills, and observing and analyzing how long a viewer watches a stream. By studying these research questions, you can further understand my original question of why and how communication happens within the stream. Different literacies such as discourses, forms of communicating verbal and non verbal, (verbal meaning actual words either typing comments or speaking Non verbal meaning sending donations, or using supporter sticker to engage with the streamer), does the quality of a stream, video/ audio bring more interaction to the stream and how long a viewer engages the stream. The only other argument I can find from the articles and videos is that some people will not find streaming video games to be a form of entertainment, or just can not follow along. This is where secondary discourse can be found meaning a group of individuals that have a common interest and hobby of playing video games.
In conclusion, Understanding the psychology, behavior as to why people watch and engage in a live stream is for interaction, and entertainment purposes. Other reasoning to understanding is the availability or ease of access to view a live stream either on facebook gaming or twitch. With viewing a stream on either platform is free of charge until you want to subscribe and send donations to help support the stream. The main points to viewing a stream in this essay you can see is what content the viewers are attracted to either, gameplay, entertainment, strategic, being engaging as a streamer, and the feeling of being accepted in the community. The expectations of a gaming content creator are answered within this essay in the beginning of the essay by describing different content created by different streamers. Ultimately, a viewer watches a stream for the content being displayed and the gratification of communicating with the streamer of their choice. Also, the quality of the stream can play a factor as to why someone will watch the stream. Finally, analyzing all the data collected in various articles and video shows how communication within streaming is important by having the right content and as a streamer knowing what a viewer wants to watch. This is how communication works within a stream from streamer to viewer and viewer to streamer.
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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.
Recktenwald, Daniel. (2018). The Discourse of Online Live Streaming on Twitch: Communication between conversation and Commentary.
Nascimento, Gustavo & Ribeiro, Manoel & Cerf, Loic & Cesario, Natalia & Kaytoue, Mehdi & Raïssi, Chedy & Vasconcelos, Thiago & Meira Jr, Wagner. (2014). Modeling and Analyzing the Video Game Live-Streaming Community. Proceedings – 9th Latin American Web Congress, LA-WEB 2014. 1-9. 10.1109/LAWeb.2014.9.
Wulf, T., Schneider, F.M., & Queck, J. (in press). Exploring viewers’ experiences of parasocial interactions with videogame streamers on Twitch. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social.
King Kaplow Live “follower Fridays”, https://www.facebook.com/110232784004090/videos/913491892759836 facebook.com
Phree gaming, “#2 sniper in warzone” https://www.facebook.com/103870221691735/videos/459218541799975 facebook.com
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