Affective labor of reproducing atmospheres: Volunteer content moderation in Chinese game live-streaming

Fan XIAO

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference paperpeer-review

Abstract

Combining synchronous digital performance with multimodal verbal interactions, live-streaming provides Internet users with immersive watching experiences as well as new forms of digital intimacy (King-O’Rain, 2020). Previous studies found that the production of live-streaming involves considerable affective labor to make it entertaining, raising concerns about the appropriation of human affects by platform capitals and precarious working conditions of streamers (e.g. Woodcock & Johnson, 2019). Extending literature on digital intimacy and the capitalization of human affects (e.g. Wissinger, 2007), this paper examines the affective labor of content moderation in live-streaming conducted by hardcore fans. Findings show that the free labor of fans is motivated by the intimate feeling of closeness between fans and streamers. And the work of content moderation facilitates the reproduction of live-streaming atmosphere as friendly, pleasant, and relevant. A social imaginary of digital intimacy legitimizes and later sustained by the speech regulation of fan moderators, in which affective relationships between online personae and followers are deeply entangled with streamers’ need for monetization in the capitalist UGC system.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 26 May 2022
Event72nd Annual International Communication Association Conference, ICA 2022: One World, One Network‽ - Paris, France
Duration: 26 May 202230 May 2022
https://www.icahdq.org/page/ICA22_GoParis
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1VseJc1c7w8mLwuKm1JSHCU-51Xs9smiu/view (Link to conference programme)

Conference

Conference72nd Annual International Communication Association Conference, ICA 2022
Country/TerritoryFrance
CityParis
Period26/05/2230/05/22
Internet address

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Communication
  • Cultural Studies
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

User-Defined Keywords

  • affective labor
  • reproductive labor
  • live-streaming
  • digital intimacy

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