Journal of
Media and Communication Studies

  • Abbreviation: J. Media Commun. Stud.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2545
  • DOI: 10.5897/JMCS
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 230

Full Length Research Paper

Whose stream is this anyway? Exploring layers of viewer-integration in online participatory videos

Kevin Weller
  • Kevin Weller
  • Department of Science, Technology and Society (STS), School of Social Sciences and Technology, Technical University of Munich (TUM), Germany.
  • Google Scholar
Michael Holaschke
  • Michael Holaschke
  • Sociology Department, Faculty of History and Social Sciences, Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt, Germany.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 06 December 2021
  •  Accepted: 10 February 2022
  •  Published: 28 February 2022


Within this paper, we explore variants of user-integrating (live) videos as examples of collaborative practices in social media. We propose an empirically informed typology of layers of user-integration in terms of: (A) directness / ‘bodiliness’ of interaction, (B) Unfinishedness in the content at hand and (C) Productive tensions through streamer-audience-interactions. As an example of spontaneously emerging (virtual) communities of practices, we argue that analyzing IOPVs - integrated, online participatory videos – allows us to outline the conditions for such participatory formats to unfold, and how video-communities engage with them. In this analysis, we connect to methodical literature on online participant-videos, applying ethnographic research-methods to our main case-studies ‘chAIR Speedtest’, ‘Snappy’s Chain-Stich’ and ‘Miko’s tormenting chat’, explicitly exploring methods of tracing viewer-producer-interactions. Here, we also add to conceptual literature on participatory (live) videos by questioning the understanding of live-participation as fundamentally peaceful collaboration. Here, our analytical categories (A-C) help us to get a broader understanding of the dynamics that keep such formats going and the required translation-practices from both viewer and video-producer alike. We conclude by summarizing our results and by discussing the issue of responsibility regarding (video) contents that emerge from such an asymmetrical collaboration.


Key words: Video ethnography, IOPV, grounded theory, participatory media, virtual communities of practice.