“Donation Alerts on Twitch.TV: Commodification of Community and Attention” presented by Recktenwald


Session Title:

  • Games: Playing Live(?) - Livestreaming in theory and practice: Four provocations on labour, liveness and participatory culture in games livestreaming

Presentation Title:

  • Donation Alerts on Twitch.TV: Commodification of Community and Attention




  • This talk will discuss subscriptions and donation alerts on Twitch.TV as a phenomenon between community interaction and commodification of attention. It will present how participants frame themselves, their viewers and “donations”. Although their responses express a genuine desire for social interaction, there is also an instrumental motivation to “grow”. Twitch.TV’s website and its third party services such as donation alerts, lead to situated practices that commodify the social interaction. On Twitch, there are major asymmetries in the visibility and potential for participation between streamers and audience members. The audience is collectively typing into a shared chat window. Audience members can never be sure that their chat message will be read by the streamer. In this situation, donation alerts become a short cut out of this competition into the perceptual focus in the center of the screen. The economic exchange is a precursor for a more prominent linguistic and social interaction. These findings demonstrate the need for a continual skepticism towards overly optimistic promises of participatory culture in the new media.

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