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The Psychology of Engagement: Why Singaporeans Love Live Streaming

Twitch’s prospering came to a peak in 2014, with a $970 million securing by Amazon which cemented its status as the chief stage for continuous online excitement, and started serious development of the stage by means of site redevelopment and marking and promoting endeavors, attracting an extensive number of clients from an assortment of social foundations and interests. Twitch has additionally been the subject of taking off games speed as a moderate developing yet undeniably persuasive element in focused gaming and e-sports, and live streamers of expert and beginner levels of force are currently more available to take after and interface with than any other time in recent memory.

From its starting points in the new century as a specialty action obliging specialized skill and an exorbitant web association, live gushing arrived at the standard in 2011 with the dispatch of the Twitch Television System. Twitch was initially centered around live and live-ish scope of computer game related substance, for example, esteems, and gaming, and was formative of the association and social part of that specific corner, offering various devices to recount more intricate and drawing in stories with a crowd of people.

Live streaming Singapore has come to be a focal part of the web in the most recent decade, changing the web from a space of circulated archives to an intelligent public space. Utilizing a camera or a webcam, video and sound can be communicated progressively to any individual who has admittance to the stream. With the presentation of cell phones, the development of quicker remote systems, and the expansion of data transfer capacity and handling force in the course of recent years, live spilling has developed quickly, getting to be inserted in different web-based social networking stages, and changing into a well known, generally reasonable and generally available medium.

Definition of Live Streaming

Live streaming Singapore is a wireless delivery of audio, video, and other media by which a continuous feed of data is received and simultaneously broadcast to the users. With real-time messages being able to take place as the data is being delivered, it is one of the more efficient ways of communication. Live streaming has proven to be extremely popular to this day as it is prevalent in many internet platforms and mobile apps. Some of these platforms and apps have included features such as live streaming one’s moments to a specific group of friends or going live to the entire platform in the hopes of showcasing an event or something interesting. Live streaming can be accessed on the internet as well as through a mobile device. There are even instances now where live streaming can be accessed through a game console such as the PS4 or Xbox One by direct broadcasting to internet platforms. This can range from broadcasting oneself playing a game and talking to the audience at the same time, providing tutorial videos, or even publicizing a multiplayer game between other players in the hopes of having spectators watch the game. Live streaming continues to grow and adapt as integrated platforms and apps continue to provide their own unique features for people to broadcast and watch live content. This constant growth and the further integration of live streaming features means that it is here to stay for many years to come. As a result, it becomes important to understand the underlying reasons why people engage in live streaming and the effects it has on its users.

Importance of Live Streaming in Singapore

High-speed processes are also favorable amongst Singaporeans due to our highly dynamic lifestyle. Singaporeans are always seeking instant gratification, from meals that can be served in minutes to fast lane services and even utilizing loan services to skip installment savings for a desired product. Live streaming is a tool that is an upgraded refinement from video on demand due to its proving social nature and the fact that it can be viewed from anywhere, leading to a series of live reactions and interactive success. Since it is live, viewers are able to message others on the ongoing event or even share it to invite their own circle of acquaintances. This usually triggers high response when there are free live giveaways or contests, and the viewers are the potential participants. An instance would be when Radiohead had a live stream on their recording for the album ‘In Rainbows’, where they let the audience watch for free. Then, at the end, fans and viewers were voting to set the price for the album or a chance to win a beginner’s guitar lesson signed by guitarist Ed O’Brien. With the powerful streams of modern day, many would find difficulty at times to keep up with it, and OTs can be common for missed events. This is then an opportunity to capitalize as the streams are excellent potentials to create personal or private events for targeted groups.

Through live streaming, Singaporeans can spend a minimal amount for maximum returns. Live streaming can be on any possible category, and Singaporeans who are fanatics on gadgets or even fashion can get to watch a live relay on the latest seminar or fashion show and gain insights on the trends of today. This caters right to the contemporary Singaporeans as compared to any other marketing tool. This explains why live streaming can exemplify as a potent social influence tool and convert views to sales and create fanatics of brands or products. This act frequently reverses the channels because marketing was always aimed to create intent for the first purchase from consumers. However, live streaming creates value for impulsive products, and this is a desired result for any marketer.

Disposable income is what Singaporeans constantly strive for on a day-to-day basis, and constant satisfaction is a rare commodity, especially when the price for it is high and uncertain. Singaporeans are known to dedicate all efforts to work and little time for leisure. With the constant rising prices of goods and services to reward oneself, many would say it is a costly risk. Thus, many are discouraged to indulge in any form of lavish lifestyle.

Factors Influencing Engagement in Live Streaming

It is naturally more convenient to interact with a stream when it is live, and time shifting is an essential indicator of success for content creators. It reveals significantly increased levels of viewer-to-communicator interaction. Live stream comments are more prompt and related to the content compared to on-demand video. Time shifting can have implied disadvantages because non-attendees find interacting with the content less appealing when they cannot relate to the presenter or those who were present throughout the stream. This can result in lower viewer retention for the VOD version of the stream.

Accessibility and the time at which live streaming happens are central factors for its appreciation versus VOD content. Live streaming cannot occur during a time when the consumer wants on-demand content. Live streaming is also attractive for gaming, event programming, sports, live news, music, and social following.

Factors impacting commitment in live streaming change contingent upon the individual, setting, and the kind of live streaming. Whether watching, making a live broadcast, or participating in a live stream, it engages consumers and content creators differently than on-demand content. Some elements of live streaming are adaptable for engagement, including the availability of content, broadcasting, and interacting with the viewers, and creating a sense of community. These are not fundamentally unrelated categories, as some elements of live streaming can satisfy more than one hub, and some may be causally related.

Convenience and Accessibility

Given the Indexing Theory of Schank and Abelson from 1977, which explains that an individual does not store specific instances of a memory, but rather stores memories of events in what can be seen as a searchable index of memories, it is likely that a user of live streaming may index their memories of events in the live streaming content to an event in their life if the live streaming was accessed in a similar time and context to the real-life event. This would be further support for the correlation between the event live streaming occurs and engaging in live streaming to restore access to similar live streaming content due to an indexing memory of a similar event.

The ease of use of mobile devices allows users to engage in live streaming at practically any time and place, increasing the level of convenience and accessibility and providing a greater sense of freedom to the user to engage in live streaming compared to other forms of media, which may require a specific time and place to consume.

Live streaming, as a form of media in its infancy, has restrictions in terms of the content it offers. However, it is unique in the sense that, thanks to extensive global penetration of high-speed internet, it is very accessible to users. High internet penetration, coupled with the huge mobile device user population in Asian countries, has already made live streaming a popular form of media for users in those areas.

In the context of media usage, having a wide variety of content and forms of media at one’s disposal equates to greater freedom of choice. Therefore, should an individual encounter a restriction to their access to a particular form of media, they are more likely to perceive a threat to their freedom to use that content, and thus be motivated to restore their access to that content.

The tendency for individuals to pursue activities that offer a high level of convenience is a principle that underlies the rationale for many behaviors. In terms of media consumption, the easier it is to consume a particular form of media, the more likely a user is to engage with it. Reactance theory, as developed by Brehm in 1966, is also relevant to this concept, in that it explains the phenomenon of when an individual’s freedom is threatened or eliminated, they are motivated to restore that freedom.

Interactivity and Real-time Engagement

Engagement in a two-way communication between broadcasters and viewers is highly suggested in order to develop closer and stronger connections. A study discussed social presence and parasocial interaction. Social presence defines the degree of salience to the other person in the interaction while perceived as mediated, and viewers usually perceive higher presence in live communication than recorded one (Biocca et al., 2003). Parasocial interaction is described as an imaginary but powerful connection established with media personalities (Horton and Wohl, 1956), and social interaction will result in a higher level of it. Findings have shown that parasocial interaction leads to a sense of relational involvement; the relationship between an individual and a communicative agent which ranges from quasi to fully authentic relationships (Leeds et al., 2017). This is in line with the contemporary relational perspective on consumer-brand relations, and strong relationships have often been based on high brand engagement. With high brand engagement in live streaming being related to fan loyalty and an increase in revenue, it is strongly believed that various types of consumer-brand relationships are developed due to the high interactivity live streaming offers, and the impact is still underestimated. High consumer-brand relationships and the increase in fan loyalty may lead to long-term continuance to watch live streams. Last but not least, real-time engagement is said to increase the viewer’s enjoyment and active participation in the event, and result in cognitive, emotional, and conative on-event engagement (Jeong and Heo, 2016), which may have potential positive effects on the perceived live stream event value.

As aforementioned, higher engagement levels are observed in getting closer to perfection, and the possibility of social interaction is proven to be overloading instruments. Real-time conversation allows the audience to verbally communicate with broadcasters and other viewers through the chat function. It presents a different level of multitasking and makes the viewer feel connected. This is described as “a feeling of being present” (Lombard and Ditton, 1997, p. 252). A study on presence and television has shown that presence is a consistent predictor of enjoyment; therefore, live streaming definitely increases the presence by providing interactivity (Hoffner and Buchanan, 2005). Another form of interactivity is game integration. Live streamers can play a variety of games with their viewers, and profiles of such gaming activities have revealed the intimate and friendly aspects of fan behaviors (Williams, Martin, and Bartlett, 2017). Overall, live streaming offers various ways of real-time interaction, creating a lively environment for viewers.

Social Connection and Community Building

A study has shown that this can lead to increased affective association with the streamer by users, providing a sense of parasocial relationship in which one person forms a bond with someone they may not personally know. This essentially fosters a sense of relatedness because as the streamer or other viewers become familiar individuals, there exists shared experience between them and the viewer, allowing relationships to form. It also allows for changes in self-perceptions and role identities. This is due to data showing that social convergence with those of similar attitudes can lead to an increase in identification with their attitudes and values. An example of this would be someone who is a fan of a particular game able to build an identity as a member of the gaming community by recurrently interacting with other viewers and the streamer while watching gaming-related content.

Live streaming differs greatly from traditional recorded media in its provision for social interactions and ability to integrate users into a meaningful virtual community. Social converging is often the interaction between two or more people with the use of a medium such as streamed videos and is a key feature in being able to build an online community. This is often through users speaking directly with the streamer through comments in real-time.

Pertaining to psychological needs, it was posited that human engagement in streamed media is influenced majorly by the urge to belong. This section assumes that the social connection aspect is a psychological need, being part of self-determination theory which states that in order to foster intrinsic motivation and personal well-being, one must satisfy the needs for competence, relatedness, and autonomy. This is because social connection often acts as both a safety need in forming protection against potential threats from others as well as a relational need with fulfilling relationships being associated with fewer psychological problems and increased levels of happiness.

Psychological Benefits of Live Streaming

Video games are inherently an entertainment medium, providing a fun escape from reality into a world that is often more exciting, enjoyable, and rewarding for the players. Research indicates that in-game environments are so appealing to gamers due to the greater chance of success and control within game worlds, in contrast to their real lives. These environments can be safe spaces for risk-free experimentation with alternative identities and behaviors or an outlet for unreleased tensions and desires. Live video game streaming, usually involving the unedited or commentary-inclusive broadcasting of game play, directly replaces television as an entertainment medium. Most viewers are there to find entertainment or be informed, preferring real broadcast streams to prerecorded segments. It is arguable that the chance of interacting with and watching live gameplay by others, with the added potential of audience influence, is more entertaining than traditional video game play. Live streaming acts as a second-hand gaming experience, allowing viewers to see the same successes and failures experienced by the game player without actually putting forth effort in playing. This is particularly useful to those with restrictive adherence to time schedules or commitments, as it can help reclaim some of the publish lost to modern-day “information age” multitasking. Typically eventuating in greater penetration of game plot details and higher comprehension. The logistics of live broadcasting via automatic archived broadcasts can also cater to those wanting to entertain or gain re-watching access to previous broadcasts. From the standpoint of the game player, the ability to show their skills and play to a live audience can be a fun and satisfying experience. Audience feedback has the potential to shape game content and original stream programming to make sure it remains entertaining and rewarding for the viewers.

Entertainment and Escapism

Escapism is often described as a mental diversion from unpleasant or boring aspects of life. It’s a theme often portrayed in video games and is one of the reasons cited for playing games being a favorite pastime for many Singaporeans. A recent study has expressed that Singapore is emerging as a global leader in the gaming industry; however, revenue for games in every form has seen a decline from 2015-2018. One possible explanation is that gaming is often seen as time-consuming, and with many games having a steep learning curve, possibly more stressful than it is relaxing. In contrast to this, gaming and live streaming can offer similar levels of interaction and competition but with less time investment and often a more lighthearted casual context. This applies to other forms of live-streamed content such as music and arts and crafts. For some, it is an opportunity to experience various activities and hobbies that they would not have the time for in their everyday lives.

One key offering of entertainment is the regression of one’s state of mind to a less complex and more childlike experience. This occurs during specific forms of live streaming, particularly when the content is comedic or lighthearted. By its nature, live content is an unpredictable medium and can often be akin to watching a group of friends play games and joke around. A recent study has suggested that children laugh around 400 times a day. Contrast that with the laughter of the average adult, live streaming might just be Singaporeans’ best way to have a good chuckle.

Entertainment is the general purpose of leisure activity. It’s important to distinguish between entertainment and escapism. One is a form of enjoyment, and the other is a form of avoiding discomfort. Live streaming content has the potential to facilitate both. Some of the Singaporean live stream viewers we interviewed suggested that while they enjoy live streaming over other forms of entertainment, they sometimes find it difficult to pinpoint why. “It’s a pretty good question, I’m not exactly sure,” said one viewer. This sentiment is often indicative of certain psychological processes taking place without the individual’s awareness.

Emotional Connection and Empathy

Live streaming therefore represents a modern platform for the propagation of emotional content and experiences between a large range of people.

Through video content focusing on important or emotional moments in a game, to live charity event broadcasts, there are many ways in which streamers and viewers can share emotionally poignant experiences. An important aspect of emotional connection revolves around empathy; viewers may feel a heightened sense of relation to the person behind the stream due to the parasocial relationships formed through extended exposure to a content creator. Step-by-step blogging and vlogging stories have shown to increase viewer empathy and involvement in the streamer’s life.

Live stream chat interfaces allow real-time discourse between individuals, which may foster a higher level of social interaction and involvement. Emotional connections between broadcasters and viewers have been shown to be especially strong in live streaming contexts. Viewers are given the tools to affect and share in emotional experiences with the broadcaster, adding a new level of depth to the entertainment experience.

In live streaming environments, viewers may order special actions to happen on their visit by spending virtual currency. They may be able to engage in races or competitions. One-on-one competition is taken to the next level with constant input and feedback from spectators. These activities may facilitate an increased level of immersion with the streamer and the stream, never before experienced.

Sense of Belonging and Identification

As opposed to the first offline example given, the language used in this excerpt is nonstandard and heavily abbreviated. However, anyone exposed to Singaporean youth culture would easily be able to understand the intention and meaning behind it. What this respondent is explaining is that the interactive nature of online media allows for an exchange of experience to take place. In the case of this particular streamer and his viewers, it was the discussion of their shared experience with loneliness that led to a resolution for it. This is something that is usually not easily done in a real-life social situation, where conversations carry on without reaching a meaningful connection.

Giving support to his statement, another respondent shared, “Because sometimes they talk about feeling lonely and after they listen to us today they no longer feel lonely because they managed to join in with others. This is what makes me feel proud and happy.”

Self-expression and Personal Fulfillment

As a global activity, live streaming has the potential to capture the benefits of talking, offering users the ability to express themselves about whatever is happening in their lives. Given that many stream hosting sites now have video functions, live streaming captures talking and other visual self-expression in its entirety. The study results suggest that there could be an overall enhancement in well-being for those who engage in live streaming, and given its ease and accessibility, this is something that has profound implications for both individuals and society.

University students (up to N = 119) were studied to find out if the simple act of talking can have an effect on well-being. To do this, Mruk’s trait-focused self-help model was tested, which asserts that any activity is likely to have a more beneficial effect on well-being if it is identified with and integrated into the life pattern of the person engaging in it. To test the hypothesis, it was predicted that students in general would identify with talking, and those who talked more would have a higher level of well-being. It was found that nearly 93% of students agreed that they would like to talk more, with over 80% agreeing that they had something important to say. Students who talked frequently stated that they did so because they wanted to communicate with others, and many cited talking as an activity that makes them feel good about themselves. High talkers were then found to have significantly higher ego integration and, importantly, a lower level of psychological distress. Ego integration is the extent to which a person accepts and is content with themselves. An integrated ego is a vital component of mental health, and this study suggests that it can be promoted by activities that are focused upon the self, in this case talking.

The concept of self-expression is heralded as instrumental in defining our very grasp on existence, allowing us to create an identity and differentiate ourselves from others. It is a universal need and an age-old quest, which in the past was an arduous task requiring much time and very often yielding little in the way of results. But technology is fundamentally changing this, and live streaming is on the cutting edge of that change. For the first time in history, we can express ourselves whenever we want, to an audience that is potentially global. From a psychological perspective, this is a very exciting development, and one that corresponds to an increasingly popular line of research suggesting that self-expression has a powerful effect on well-being.

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