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Inclusive Streamers: Live Broadcasting Safe Spaces

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Talk given on Mar. 20, 2019 at Northeastern University's Art+Design department.

Gaming is a historically toxic environment for women, people of color, disabled and LGBTQ+ folks. But on the world’s largest live streaming platform, Twitch, minority streamers and their allies are creating safe spaces for their communities and keeping the trolls at bay. The proliferation of these groups, which have managed to effectively moderate their communities and monetize their gameplay, while maintaining the values of integrity and inclusivity that are at the core of their identities, represents an intriguing new cultural phenomenon which has not yet been examined in detail.

In this talk I will present findings from an ongoing ethnographic study seeking to understand the origin, and influence, of the growing inclusivity movement on Twitch. First, I’ll introduce the different ways in which inclusive communities form around marginalized streamers. Secondly, I’ll detail the shared values and standards of behavior that these communities are developing. Finally, I’ll explore how the affective labor of stream communities is transforming the aesthetic language, economic values, and governmental structure of the service. By critically analyzing the emergence of the inclusive Twitch community, the goal of this talk will be to shed light on, and draw inspiration from, the powerful, co-creative, role this labor force plays on the platform that supports it.

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Inclusive Streamers: Live Broadcasting Safe Spaces

  1. 1. Inclusive Streamers Live Broadcasting Safe Spaces Johanna Brewer, PhD co-founder, Research & Design Studio
  2. 2. Land acknowledgement
  3. 3. Game culture & the toxic web Online harassment finally gained mainstream attention during Gamergate
  4. 4. More than a troll factory?
  5. 5. The search begins Ethnographic study started Dec. of 2017
  6. 6. What's Twitch? The world’s largest live streaming platform
  7. 7. How significant is Twitch? 150 million viewers each month generate more traffic than Hulu, Facebook and Amazon
  8. 8. Kind of a big deal
  9. 9. The producers of play 2.2 million streamers 250,000 affiliates 27,000 partners
  10. 10. Anatomy of a stream
  11. 11. Behind the stream
  12. 12. Behind the stream
  13. 13. Live streaming represents a revolution in televisual communication
  14. 14. Participatory interactive broadcast
  15. 15. Stream community
  16. 16. Methodological approach Seeking examples of diversity & inclusivity Dec. 2017 - Aug. 2018
  17. 17. Methodological approach Seeking examples of diversity & inclusivity 9 months of immersive observation Dec. 2017 - Aug. 2018
  18. 18. Methodological approach Seeking examples of diversity & inclusivity 9 months of immersive observation Watched nearly 1,000 hours live Dec. 2017 - Aug. 2018
  19. 19. Methodological approach Seeking examples of diversity & inclusivity 9 months of immersive observation Watched nearly 1,000 hours live Captured 100s of screenshots Dec. 2017 - Aug. 2018
  20. 20. Methodological approach Seeking examples of diversity & inclusivity 9 months of immersive observation Watched nearly 1,000 hours live Captured 100s of screenshots Loosely connected group of ~50 streamers Dec. 2017 - Aug. 2018
  21. 21. Speedrunning
  22. 22. “What speedrunning on Twitch does, and what watching these types of events live does, is it humanizes inhuman abilities.” –Jared Rae (former Twitch community manager)
  23. 23. Methodological approach Direct recruiting + snowball sampling Sept. 2018 - Now
  24. 24. Methodological approach Direct recruiting + snowball sampling All types of streamers (speedrunners, varietycasters, creatives, etc.) Sept. 2018 - Now
  25. 25. Methodological approach Direct recruiting + snowball sampling All types of streamers (speedrunners, varietycasters, creatives, etc.) Semi-structured interviews (~2 hours) Sept. 2018 - Now
  26. 26. Methodological approach Direct recruiting + snowball sampling All types of streamers (speedrunners, varietycasters, creatives, etc.) Semi-structured interviews (~2 hours) 10 participants (6 LGBTQ+, 5 women, 2 disabled, 1 PoC) Sept. 2018 - Now
  27. 27. Methodological approach Direct recruiting + snowball sampling All types of streamers (speedrunners, varietycasters, creatives, etc.) Semi-structured interviews (~2 hours) 10 participants (6 LGBTQ+, 5 women, 2 disabled, 1 PoC) Video interviews conducted on Discord, recorded with OBS Sept. 2018 - Now
  28. 28. Methodological approach Direct recruiting + snowball sampling All types of streamers (speedrunners, varietycasters, creatives, etc.) Semi-structured interviews (~2 hours) 10 participants (6 LGBTQ+, 5 women, 2 disabled, 1 PoC) Video interviews conducted on Discord, recorded with OBS IRL observation at events (TwitchCon, GDQ, etc.) Sept. 2018 - Now
  29. 29. Decentralized movement
  30. 30. How do these inclusive communities form?
  31. 31. Letting your guard down
  32. 32. Seeking refuge
  33. 33. Holding the door (open)
  34. 34. What values do these communities share?
  35. 35. Being genuine & honest
  36. 36. Leading by example
  37. 37. Collaborating not competing
  38. 38. Creating & sharing knowledge
  39. 39. Passing the privilege
  40. 40. How are these communities transforming Twitch? What can we learn from them?
  41. 41. Streaming is an art form
  42. 42. Care trumps capital
  43. 43. Amplification reverberates
  44. 44. How should this shape my design practice?
  45. 45. @deadroxy netasnook.com Questions?

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