What can Twitch teach us about the rise of streaming platforms, userplatform relationships and recent shifts in our media ecology? Kristine Ask, Hendrik Storstein Spilker (STREAM) and Martin Hansens recent paper The politics of user-platform relatsionships: Co-scripting live streaming on Twitch.tv investigates the role of users in the evolution and politics of live-streaming platforms.
Twitch is a highly popular live-streaming platform with an emphasis on gaming, whose rise to fame has been far from streamlined or expected. Using Twitch, this paper explores what characterises the relationship between users and platforms and ask how use and users are configured by platform design and how users accept or reject such efforts. Based on qualitative analysis of design, discourse and user practices, Ask, Spilker & Hansen draws on script theory from science and technology studies, and platform theory from Internet studies, to unpack the configuration of use and users. By tracing the development of the platform, they identify a pattern of frequent interaction between platform owners and users, and consequent course changes, which they label co-scription. Finally, the paper analyse the current Twitch script and propose five dimensions of co-scription that determine the user-platform relationship: 1) Sociality: community or individual use; 2) Audience: specific or general; 3) Moderation: strictly moderated or laissez-faire; 4) Content: user-generated or commercial; and 5) Scope: specialised or multi-feature.
Read the full paper here: https://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/9648/8054#author