Watch Me Code: Programming Mentorship Communities on Twitch.Tv

Abstract

Live streaming-an emerging practice of broadcasting video of oneself in real time to an online audience-is often used by people to portray themselves engaged in a craft such as programming. Viewers of these ‘creative streams’ gather to watch the streamer at work and to interact with the streamer and other audience members. However, little is known about how creative streamers engage with their audience, how their viewership communities form and operate, and how creative streams may support learning. In this study, we used a participant-observer method to study game development streams on the live streaming site Twitch.tv. We found that live streams support the growth of learning-focused communities that mentor both the streamer and each other during and after streams. We show the influence of streamers in creating a space for learning and motivating learners. Finally, we discuss implications for online education and communities of practice.

Publication
CSCW ‘18—(Proc. ACM Hum.-Comput. Interact.)