Talking in Numbers


As more and more people communicate online, the method and language of communication shifts. Livestreaming platforms such as Twitch.tv have become increasingly popular and now attract live audiences of up to 600,000.


To understand this shift it is necessary to return to the origin of the post. In the pre-networked era of publishing here were several consistent paradigms. A solid substrate, one-to-many model, an existence in a certain space and also certain time. However, networked publishing developed an almost opposite set of paradigms. The post was no longer contained on a physical substrate and shifted to a many-to-many model. But most importantly it was disconnected from a space and time.


In the last few years, Livestreaming has been integrated into the biggest social media platforms. Twitch.tv, the platform I have studied is one of the most popular. I think that Livestreaming has become popular because of its two main features, its live video and its live chat. This allows group of individuals, usually somewhere between 5,000 and 100,000, to gather around a space and talk in chronological time, something that has been lost in other platforms. Looking specifically at Twitch, you can almost see a kind of crowd mentality forming. This crowd mentality is influenced by paradigms that were part of the pre-networked publishing era and exist in Twitch.tv today.


This project came together as a performance involving about 15 actors whose phones were connected to a server that sent them live chat messages from the most active chat at that time. The code for the server is available here.



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