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    • bartadamley
      Scout
      1 month ago

      Weird world we are immersed in. Yet I think the fact that there are plenty of streamers/online creators on the internet “sharing” their lives to a nonexistent audience... is stating how we are missing something IRL.

      This one quote stuck out to me the most.

      But when seemingly everyone wants to record footage or live stream, who ends up watching the content?

      Everyday. Every second. We have more & more “content” being recorded that sits unconsumed. Is this demoralizing or is this empowering?

      • Kasper1 month ago

        Totally agree that it might be a sign that something is missing IRL. Unconsumed content is neither demoralizing or empowering I believe, it's just a sign that there is too much producing and not 'enough' consuming to match what is produced, but that's not necessarily bad, is it?

        • thorgalle1 month ago

          Totally agree that it might be a sign that something is missing IRL.

          What is Real Life right now? If I'd make a daily Instagram story to share my life with my friends & family who I can't physically reach due to corona (and likewise, I consume their stories), are the interactions & conversations stemming from that Real Life or not?

          I don't think it's just the quantity of production, it's also the way and intention with which we produce, and the response we aim to achieve. The article points out an interestingly varied set of motivations to stream online, or to create content.

          Where the problem lies more concretely is I think here:

          teachers report that their students often say they want to pursue YouTubing as a career

          I don't think that's new. Some kids in the early 2000s and before also dreamt of becoming a rock star, actor, singer, or TV presenter. The difference is that instead of starting a band, going to an acting school and in so doing starting their career in a slow (but connected) fashion, these kids (and not just kids) now have tools capable of instantly reaching hundreds, thousands or even millions of people. And they are digitally 24/7 surrounded with idols who are achieving just that. This sets the (self) expectations much higher, which makes the inevitable failure for many demoralizing, because, surprise surprise:

          Discoverability is an issue: when you log into Twitch, the most visible people are those who already have a large following. While there are tools to find lesser-known streamers, most people starting out without built-in audiences from other platforms or supportive friends and family end up staring at a big, fat zero on their viewership counter. This lonely live stream purgatory can last anywhere from a few days, weeks, months, sometimes even years, depending on your luck.

          I think the solution lies in the humbling of our digital ambitions. Not everyone should be a global phenomenon. It's perfectly fine to create and consume in small (or even closed!) digital circles: less connections, but stronger ones. Platforms fail to recognize that. Instagram's flat, algorithmic feed collates your close friends asking for attention with distant pop singer idols vying for ad revenue (very nice article about that here: Dayna Tortorici - My Instagram). Incumbent social media only has the incentive to make us produce and consume more and more and more. There's a better way.

          • Kasper1 month ago

            What is Real Life right now?

            Fair point and good question, but in your question you are understanding real life more broadly than I intended, so I’ll make myself more clear. The article is about streaming, mostly games I suppose, so I make a distinction between virtual life and real (physical, live) life (“IRL”). If I were asked to specify what is missing IRL, I’d say in contemporary western societies it is precisely what games give you the experience of: discovery, adventure, danger, meaning, goals, maybe even beauty. Now let’s say that what you actually said in your question is that this distinction is continuously fading out, as, just to give some examples, (1) due to corona our virtual contacts start to count more as non-virtual contacts, (2) kids grow up in virtualized societies, where actions online are as meaningful as offline, or even more, (3) the exciting things in life happen in the virtual realm. That’s going to the philosophical question of what is real and what is not.

            I think the solution lies in the humbling of our digital ambitions.

            Wow! Yes, I agree. So you are saying that the root of the problem (with the streaming, mass social media system as a whole) lies in the high threshold that defines what is subpar, acceptable and above average attention / love / recognition, and that the solution lies not in aborting the virtual life altogether, but in downscaling it back to more or less the scale that we had before virtual life existed

            To conclude: the article indeed points out that discoverability is an issue for aspiring streamers, we agree that the inherent human urge for attention / love, for being ‘discovered’ by many and given affirmation, is the problem. And I would then say that that problems comes from the fact that technology and new possibilities emerge faster than our ape brains can cope with 😊 It is kind of scary actually, just to go parabolic with this idea, it would mean that we will have made a human colony on Mars before we realize that the other colony will become enemies of the earthlings, and that nuclear bombing actually does become a legit option. Now that escalated quickly.

            • thorgalle1 month ago

              contemporary western societies it is precisely what games give you the experience of: discovery, adventure, danger, meaning, goals, maybe even beauty.

              Interesting! Discovery: yes, adventure: yes, danger: yes, meaning: maybe, goals: I even think some have too much of those, beauty: hm?

              So you are saying that the root of the problem (with the streaming, mass social media system as a whole) lies in the high threshold that defines what is subpar, acceptable and above average attention / love / recognition

              Yes! And the way social media has seemingly changed that threshold for many people.

              and that the solution lies not in aborting the virtual life altogether, but in downscaling it back to more or less the scale that we had before virtual life existed

              In a way. I think I'm mostly opposed to the implicit message/narrative pushed in these platforms: "if you're feeling lonely or under-recognized in today's virtual world, get more followers/streamers/likes on your content". First of all, you're setting yourself up for "failure" (as mentioned before). Second, at some early point, an increase in numbers loses human significance. In this case, getting 10 more streamers on top of your current 100 will not lead to 10 more meaningful friendships. The internet is pretty shallow in that way. And yet our current "digital ambitions" are to get more and more.

              I'm not saying that online platforms are bad, and that creating content and aspiring for it to be consumed (more) is bad. I'm saying: if the streamer wants to find human connections, then starting a lonely stream is a sad and ineffective way of addressing that need.

              Even if that person really can't find the gamer friends they are looking for in their physical environment, wouldn't a better solution be to find online groups (guilds?) or people that play the same game as they do, and just play/talk with them, like we were in the early 2000s (indeed!)? Maybe develop a handful of online relationships with people with whom you can play more regularly, and also get to know them on a more personal level? Human connection doesn't come from quantity, it comes from quality.

              Why do people think that their lives need to be broadcast and attract thousands of viewers for them to feel successful/appreciated?

              Problems like this one and related ones (see the Physical and Mental health section from Humane Tech) are I think both intentionally and unintentionally caused by the mechanics of online platforms, and eventually can be derived back to their advertisement-based business model.

              It is kind of scary actually, just to go parabolic with this idea, it would mean that we will have made a human colony on Mars before we realize that the other colony will become enemies of the earthlings, and that nuclear bombing actually does become a legit option

              Lol, there must be a sci-fi book about this scenario.

        • Karenz
          Scribe
          1 month ago

          At first I was going to say that this is a situation I can’t remotely understand but then it occurred to me that my “audience” is my clients in my practice. I’m working well past retirement age so I don’t have a chance to feel lonely or “unfollowed.” But what about after I retire? When I really reflected on that, this whole situation felt less bizarre to me!! Having like-minded people—our tribe—is such a necessity for us humans.

          • thorgalle1 month ago

            So true. Glad to hear that you feel that your clients are your tribe! That sounds like a good working relationship. If you're a kid today who has to attend school remotely, who will likely be working remotely, digital is increasingly the primary way to connect with friends (or to make new connections!). We better make it a good one! :)

    • thorgalle1 month ago

      Really interesting perspectives from the interviewees. The paragraph about advice from veterans streams also seems solid advice for any online creation endeavour!

      Based on conversations I’ve had with dozens of streamers, taking that initial plunge when you’re not sure anyone is going to watch can feel like throwing a message in a bottle into the sea. Maybe someone will find it. Maybe the bottle ends up lost in the abyss. We all gamble in our own ways when we reach out online, whether we’re swiping right on Tinder or using a hashtag to look for people with similar interests. Maybe we end up feeling more alienated than ever before, or maybe we find people who make everything worth it.

      Also fascinating how this extrapolates to digital life online at large. Does writing a Readup comment feel like throwing a message bottle into the sea? I hope less so. Maybe it does.

      1. Update (5/1/2021):

        *from veteran streamers

    • DellwoodBarker
      Top reader this weekReading streakScribe
      1 month ago

      Good read.

      The Twitchers who see the whole experience as repetitive practice versus a lonely/depressive one are inspirational. Maintain doing your thing; whether audience or no audience until one day that zero becomes 1. You just never know. (Makes me think of a potential screenplay where a twitcher broadcasts to no one for years and then suddenly discovers either they have been broadcasting into a quantum portal into the future for years, or to aliens, or the broadcasts contain coded messages which suddenly make him a Most Wanted). One just never knows.

      Reminds me of Bill discussing the motivations for writing and why he does it in one of his Sputnik blogs and he breaks down the three or four possibilities.

      It sucks if individuals are sitting there doing it for attention and craving/expecting it. The psychological toll will be more devastating versus the perspectives here which I find inspiring:

      “It’s better than sitting in a dark room by myself in silence,” wrote Twitch user jostlingjoe on a Reddit discussion about how to deal with having no viewers.

      Many, though, are looking for something more. One streamer I spoke to who spent three months without an audience, MaverickRPDM, says that they kept live streaming games with zero viewers because they saw it as a form of self-improvement. “Streaming has made me more interesting, more quick witted, more outgoing and extroverted,” MaverickRPDM says. “It has helped make me feel more comfortable being myself, and by virtue of that has made me be more myself, more often, even outside of the stream.”

      That said, I’ve no real interest in Twitching; still as others already point out the read is still relevant and relatable.