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 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, 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 Moral Economy of Mobile Phones Symposium and Book Launch

Friday 17 August, 3pm – 5.30pm

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

RSVP via Eventbrite

The rapid uptake of mobile phones in the Pacific Islands over the last ten years has created a complicated moral economy. We understand the moral economy of mobile phones to imply a field of shifting relations among consumers, companies and state actors, all of whom have their own ideas about what is good, fair and just. These ideas inform the ways in which, for example, consumers acquire and use mobile phones; companies promote and sell voice, SMS and data subscriptions; and state actors regulate both everyday use of mobile phones and market activity around mobile phones. Ambivalence and disagreement about who owes what to whom is thus an integral feature of the moral economy of mobile phones.

This symposium reports on research in Fiji and Papua New Guinea funded by the Australian Research Council, including two documentary films. It concludes with a book launch for The Moral Economy of  Mobile Phones: Pacific Perspectives, an edited volume published in May 2018 by the Australian National University Press and is available for free download here.

Confirmed presenters include: Heather A. Horst (University of Sydney), Robert J. Foster (University of Rochester), Lucas Watt (RMIT University), Wendy Bai Magea (University of Goroka), Romitesh Kant (University of South Pacific/LaTrobe University), and luke gaspard (University of Sydney). The Moral Economy of  Mobile Phones: Pacific Perspectives will be launched by Professor Gerard Goggin (University of Sydney).