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


    Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference paperpeer-review


    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
    EventICA 2022 - 72nd Annual International Communication Association Conference: One World, One Network‽ - Paris, France
    Duration: 26 May 202230 May 2022 (Link to conference programme)


    ConferenceICA 2022 - 72nd Annual International Communication Association Conference
    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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