Studies have showed that with new technology being introduced into the society, mass media has been affected from these changes (Moragas, 1990). Overall, social media can push viewers away from old media forms such as newspapers, television, radio and printing press into new media such as personalised news, YouTube, podcasts and blogs (Cassidy, 2017). Since the last global report in January 2015, the number of active social media users has increased in size by 10% or an increase of 219 million people (Kemp, 2016). As media platforms continue to connect to people while growing and expanding, social media is currently changing the gaming industry. In this case study we were to choose any type of industry and demonstrate our understanding of the roles that social media is playing in shaping professional identity which in this case is the gaming industry. Throughout this case study, media convergence will be talked about and how it has impacted a specific Youtuber, how new technology has affected todays society and how users can interact with Youtubers.
Gaming has now been part of the human nature for a long time. From board games to card games to video games. These are all sources of games because it’s a type of way where people can interact with each other as well as a source of entertainment. Having said that, video gaming was introduced to our lives since the early 1970s (Tyson, n.d.). This being said, social media is constantly changing and shaping our lives as it has helped gamers to gain the capability to reach out to their internet audience. One of the main gaming viewing platforms that viewers go to is YouTube. This is because this platform has impacted the methods in which gamers can interact with their viewers and fans.
Olajide William “JJ” Olatunji, better known as KSI is a YouTube and social media phenomenon having 16million subscribers on YouTube. Being an entertainer and comedian, his videos on YouTube mostly consist of FIFA gameplay/commentary whilst also playing other games on different gaming consoles. He also released his first music single as a solo in 2015. KSI YouTube career has been clearly impacted by media convergence throughout the media industry. Jenkins (2004) states that media convergence as something more than a technological shift and that it alters the relationships between existing industries, markets, technologies and audiences. Technological convergence, which is a form of media convergence is the process by which technologies merge into new forms that bring together different types of media (McGuigan, 2003). Convergence was evident throughout KSI’s use of YouTube as it is used as a tool to connect with the viewers and fans. KSI has previously used still sometimes uses social media profiles such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to connect with his fans and to share his YouTube videos.
KSI joined Twitter in 2011 and since then has grown to have around 2.8million followers (Twitter, 2017). As well as Twitter, he has an Instagram account with 4.5million people following him (Instagram, 2017). Furthermore, he also has Facebook page with it nearly reaching 2.5million likes (Facebook, 2017). It is obvious that his main social media platform is his YouTube account as he does videos on himself playing or even just doing a live stream to connect with his fans and viewers. He is a prime example of how he has used social media to gain exposure and popularity throughout his career. These online social media platforms allow KSI to communicate with his fans at anytime with people commenting on his videos and enabling him to receive feedback. It is for that reason that has allowed KSI to gain a role of an entertainer through social media platforms.
As it was said before, new technology being introduced into the society, mass media has been effected from these changes (Moragas, 1990). An affordance is a quality of an object or environment that allows someone to perform an action (Macmillan Dictionary, 2017). Affordances look at what you can do specifically with technology and saying that, Boyd (2010) mentions that new media has altered the consumption, production and transmission models of entertainment. This can be seen through gaming communities which lately have been a lot more connected as you can share gameplay online through forums and social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. These days we not only play video games but watch hours of gaming content online. This is because there’s a whole new layer of content and culture attached between gamers and the audience.
Another YouTube sensation with the most subscribed channel is PewDiePie having 54million subscribers. He is a Swedish web-based comedian and video producer as he is known for his let’s play commentaries such as a video game walkthrough and vlogs on his YouTube account. With new technology changing the society, PewDiePie uses social media platforms to share his YouTube videos as he is not only advertising himself but also advertising the game he is playing. For that reason, PewDiePie has been one of the most successful Youtubers ever.
People can easily be employed to play games. For example, KSI. Saying that people are also taken advantage of as they are providing free content for the games makers and how they are doing free advertising. This can lead to a digital identity. Digital identity is the network or internet equivalent to the real identity of a person (Gemalto, n.d.). People can have a presence online that is completely different to their real life. They don’t necessarily have their real name online but could be a really famous gamer but because its not their real names, no one knows them. It only takes one viral piece of content for a gamer or any type of Youtuber to gain popularity. This can be seen in KSI’s music single ‘Lamborghini’ . Since it was published in 2015, it has gained close to 71million views and still growing. Through the comment section, the Youtuber can interact with its fans and receive feedback from what could be other famous gamers which people wouldn’t know because its their YouTube name instead of their real name.
In conclusion, social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and in particular YouTube has significantly changed, including the influence it has on the present and future professional identities of online gamers. YouTube in particular has created a community where viewers and fans can communicate with the professional gamers. Online gamers can benefit from this, not just from creating videos but building a foundation in this career through advertisements, subscribers and sponsorship. So for that reason we can say that YouTube is one of the most successful platforms when it comes to gaming related content.
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Cassidy, E. (2017). “KCB206 Social Media, Self and Society: Week 2 Lectorial Notes.” Accessed April 7, 2017. https://blackboard.qut.edu.au/bbcswebdav/pid-6744803-dt-content-rid-8002274_1/xid-8002274_1
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