Streamers and loneliness

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#1 Edited by Volsung (324 posts) -

Do streamers play a sort of "surrogate friend/friends" role in peoples lives and is this the main appeal whether people realize it or not?

I never understood the appeal in watching strangers play video games when you could be playing them yourself, but... looking at it from the point of view of it being a simulation of being connected with other people...then the popularity of Twitch, Huya, etc. sense to me. A sad simulation yes, but there is something tangible there that makes people come back.

What do you guys think?

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#2 Edited by Sancho_Panzer (870 posts) -

Kind of, maybe. In the same way that television, games and movies are a proxy for living or a way of avoiding doing something constructive. It's all just entertainment really, isn't it?

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#3 Edited by Volsung (324 posts) -

@sancho_panzer said:

Kind of, maybe. In the same way that television, games and movies are a proxy for living or a way of avoiding doing something constructive. It's all just entertainment really, isn't it?

Games and movies are definitely for vicariously experiencing emotions and drama, romance, violence, excitement etc. etc.

But I think watching streamers is different and is more about the idea of having a connection with or being around another real person. Such as it is.

I'd be very interested to see what percentage of people that watch streamers frequently also have fulfilling social life. I'm not saying they're mutually exclusive things, but I can't help but feel something is wrong. And I mean, I'm also speaking for myself here.

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#4 Edited by watercrack445 (1843 posts) -

I think its similar to a youtube formula. Liking the content and the person.

Short-term, its for the content. As the watcher "spends time" with the streamer, the watcher may develop interests with the person or not.

For long-term, most likely they are watching the streamer because they like the person and want to see their reactions. Especially, if they are playing a horror game.

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#5 Edited by Treflis (13671 posts) -

I think there are different factors playing in such as a persons interest in said game or even genre the streamer is playing, the streamers personality and whether he/she interacts with viewers beyond "Thanks for donating", The overall entertainment value ( if you like the humor that the streamer or game has then you'd be more likely to stay and be entertained), they might be quite good at a game the viewer enjoys themselves so they could also observe and get some tips on how to improve their own performance etc.

As for the question " Why watch it when you can do it yourself?" it can be applied to most other activities that one can view either online or on the TV such as basketball, building a new bathroom, haggling the price of a dusty book you had in the attic with a clerk in a pawn store.

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#6 Posted by Ovirew (9125 posts) -

I guess I hadn't thought much about this. Yeah, I guess it's possible some people view streamers as a "friend" they can check in with daily or weekly, and even sometimes communicate with via comments.

Just yesterday I checked out a few unboxing and review videos, and it occurred to me how good the reviewer was at what he did, and he kept the video interesting for pretty much its duration. I'd imagine you could come to rely on a personality like that to get their take on things.

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#7 Edited by Volsung (324 posts) -

@Ovirew said:

I guess I hadn't thought much about this. Yeah, I guess it's possible some people view streamers as a "friend" they can check in with daily or weekly, and even sometimes communicate with via comments.

I'm thinking less about what the watcher consciously perceives their relationship with the streamer to be and more about what they get emotionally out of it all. My theory is that it's basically porn for the part of the mind that craves positive social relationships.

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#8 Edited by Volsung (324 posts) -

Maybe they just make people laugh and it's all just entertainment like any other. But...eh... I really doubt the people that watch some of these channels are in great places socially/emotionally.

Seems to me like a dystopian avenue the internet has opened up.

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#9 Posted by FFCYAN (4969 posts) -

Content=Interest, Skill=Measurable, Value=Worthwhile.

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#10 Posted by npiet1 (2528 posts) -

No, I think it's more that it's just entertaining. It's like if you had a host that you'd prefer, you'd be more likely to watch other shows they hosted.