The Lives and Careers of Professional Live Streamers

Thursday October 8, 2020

This talk examines the careers and backgrounds of professional “live streamers” broadcasting on leading platform Twitch.tv. I begin by outlining the rapid growth of this site to the point where millions of individuals are broadcasting to well over one hundred million viewers on a regular basis. Drawing on five years of interview and ethnographic data, I focus on examining the pasts, presents and (predicted or considered) futures of live streamers. How did these individuals (often lacking any professional media training) find their way in to being professional streamers, what does the everyday labour of streaming entail, and what do they expect will embody the future of their chosen career? Throughout these elements I consider the associated entanglements – digital game culture, online celebrity, platform infrastructure and governance – which shape this new media form, and show how live streaming is increasingly influencing both amateur, and professional, content production.

Mark R. Johnson is a Lecturer in Digital Cultures in the Department of Media and Communications at the University of Sydney. His research focuses on live streaming and Twitch.tv, esports, game consumption and production, and gamification and gamblification. He has published in journals including ‘Information, Communication and Society’, ‘New Media and Society’, ‘The Sociological Review’, ‘Convergence’, ‘Games and Culture’, and the ‘Journal of Virtual Worlds Research’. Outside academia he is also an independent game designer, a regular games blogger and podcaster, a freelance writer for numerous gaming publications, and a former professional poker player.

The Bhutan-Wiki Project: Global knowledge and minority languages

Thursday September 17, 3pm – 4.30pm

Online via Zoom, RSVP via Eventbrite to receive Meeting ID and password

The growing influence of English Wikipedia has created powerful new gatekeepers and publishing practices that determine not only what constitutes knowledge in the online world, but whose knowledge is privileged. Research shows the different ways that the structural inequalities of the offline world are being reproduced online, creating new sites for colonisation. However, the smaller language Wikipedias offer a bulwark for cultural resilience. The platform has multi-media capabilities, which can be utilized by oral cultures in ways not possible before Web 2.0 technologies. as well as providing asynchronous online meeting places for geographically disparate communities to participate in their national imaginings. This paper presents preliminary work on a three-year, Australian Research Council-funded action research project that will investigate the experiences of the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan with English and Dzongkha Wikipedias as a case study to consider 1) some of the impacts of English Wikipedia on global knowledge equity and 2) the potential for minority language Wikipedias to provide a cultural counterpoint.

Dr Bunty Avieson is an author, journalist and academic, who teaches in the Department of Media and Communications at University of Sydney. Her research interests include the media in Bhutan, literary journalism and Wikipedia Studies. These threads are brought together in this DECRA project, awarded in 2019.

Media@Sydney Seminars, Semester 2, 2020

Please RSVP through event links to receive Zoom meeting ID and password

Thursday September 17, 3pm – 4.30pm

Bunty Avieson (University of Sydney)

The Bhutan-Wiki Project: Global knowledge and minority languages

Wikipedia offers a bulwark for cultural resilience by oral cultures and this project investigates the experiences of the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan.

Thursday October 8, 3pm – 4.30pm

Mark Johnson (University of Sydney)

The Lives and Careers of Professional Live Streamers

Drawing on five years of ethnographic research, this seminar focuses on the pasts, presents and (predicted or considered futures of live streamers.

Thursday October 22, 3pm – 4.30pm

Justine Humphry, Chris Chesher and Sophia Maalsen (University of Sydney)

Smart Publics: Imaginaries and Discoveries of Smart Street Furniture

This talk will present research findings from the Smart Publics project focusing on smart city user imaginaries and public encounters with media hybridised forms of smart street furniture.

Thursday November 5, 3pm – 4.30pm

Alana Mann (University of Sydney)

Book release: Food in a Changing Climate

This new book analyses land and labour relationships in the global food system and considers whose knowledge counts in science communication on health and climate issues.

Thursday November 19, 3pm – 4.30pm

Olga Boichak (University of Sydney)

Mapping the National Web: Spaces and cultures of diasporic mobilisation in the digital age

This seminar explores hyperlinking behaviours among Ukrainian Canadians to map geographic, linguistic, and political boundaries of the Ukrainian national web.

Thursday November 26

Jolynna Sinanan (University of Sydney)

Larissa Hjorth (RMIT University)

Heather Horst (Western Sydney University)

Sarah Pink (Monash University)

Book release: Digital Media Practices in Households

This new book explores practices through locative media, self-tracking and quantified self apps in households in Tokyo, Shanghai and Melbourne.

Sharing News Online – affective capitalism and the motivation to share

Friday 13 March, 3.00pm – 4.30pm

Seminar followed by book launch

MECO Seminar Room, S226, John Woolley Building A20, University of Sydney

RSVP via Eventbrite

There is strong evidence that social media news sharing is influenced by people’s immediate feelings about an event or issue, their emotional investments in story sharing and their affective relations with their social networks.

However, it is also shaped by an industrial system of alerts, algorithms and analytics which gives visibility to content that is more likely to trigger strong participatory responses from media consumers. In this presentation, based on her new book with Associate Professor Tim Dwyer, Sharing News Online: Commendary Cultures & Social Media Ecologies, Dr Fiona Martin examines why the concept of affect is critical to understanding people’s everyday decisions to share information on social media platforms, and why Facebook’s ‘emotional contagion’ survey gives us only partial answers to how our feelings are ripe for manipulation online

Based on research conducted with Associate Professor Virginia Nightingale, she will investigate the cultural context and emotional triggers for news sharing, the news values that make stories shareworthy and the feelings that news evokes. In the talk, she’ll discuss the significant gender and age differences in the emotional states that prompt sharing behaviours, and trace clear affective trajectories in the types of stories shared and the intentions for exchanging them. Sharing News Online was the outcome of an ARC Linkage project (LP140100148) with Share Wars & Nine News.

Fiona Martin is senior lecturer in Online and Convergent Media, in the Dept. Media & Communications, at the University of Sydney. Her current ARC Discovery project is Platform Governance: Rethinking Internet Regulation as Media Policy (DP190100222), with Terry Flew, Nic Suzor, Tim Dwyer, Phil Napoli & Josef Trappel.

Tim Dwyer is Associate Professor in the Dept. Media & Communications, at the University of Sydney. He is author of Convergent Media and Privacy (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016) and a member of the Platform Governance team.

Virginia Nightingale was formerly Associate Professor in Media and Communication, University of Western Sydney. She retired in 2010, but came out of retirement to work on the Sharing News Online study.

Psychodata: Disassembling social-emotional learning, edutech and policy

Ben Williamson, University of Edinburgh

Thursday, November 6, 4pm – 5.30pm

Room 351, Education Building, University of Sydney

RSVP via Eventbrite

An event cosponsored by the SSESW Education Policy Research Network and the Socio-Tech Futures (STuF) Lab.

Psychology and economics are powerful sources of contemporary governance, and are increasingly influential in education policy and practice. In this context, social and emotional learning (SEL) is becoming an educational priority in many parts of the world. Based on the measurement and assessment of students’ ‘noncognitive’ skills, SEL consists of a ‘psycho-economic’ combination of psychometrics with economic analysis, and is producing novel forms of statistical ‘psychodata’ about students. This presentation examines how psychological and economics experts are producing policy-relevant scientific knowledge and statistical psychodata to influence the direction of SEL policies, by following the development of SEL as it has travelled transnationally through the advocacy of psychologists, economists, and behavioural scientists, with support from think tank coalitions, philanthropies, edtech companies (e.g. ClassDojo), investment schemes, and international organizations (e.g. OECD). These emerging efforts to measure SEL instantiate ‘psycho-econometric governance’ within education, part of a political rationality in which society is measured effectively through scientific fact-finding and subjects are managed affectively through psychological intervention.

Ben Williamson is a Chancellor’s Fellow in the Centre for Research in Digital Education and the Edinburgh Futures Institute at the University of Edinburgh. He maintains the research blog Code Acts in Education, tweets @BenPatrickWill, and wrote Big Data in Education: The digital future of learning, policy and practice (Sage, 2017).