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Factors Influencing Viewers' Social Support for Live Streamers: Parasocial Interaction and Telepresence Perspectives
Wang, Shaojung Sharon
|Keywords:||社會支持 ;直播 ;寂寞 ;遠距臨場感 ;窺視 ;擬社會互動 |
live streaming ;loneliness ;parasocial interaction ;social support ;telepresence ;voyeurism
|Issue Date:||2022-04-11 10:56:23 (UTC+8)|
Background: Live streaming is a form of media that involves recording and broadcasting simultaneously via the Internet in real time. Due to the recent advancement of real-time broadcasting technologies, the increase of high-bandwidth connections, and the popularization of mobile devices, the technical threshold for creating and delivering live media content has been greatly lowered. Live streaming platforms have thus rapidly proliferated across the global digital landscape, and programs on such platforms have garnered a large number of user-generated content. Since 2015, live streaming has become one of the important way for viewers in Taiwan to consume content. Live streaming not only allows viewers to interact with the streamers in real time and in person through text messages, but the mechanism of giving virtual currencies and gifts on the platforms has also created a new type of business model and transformed everyday people into influencers. Purpose: Considering the design and mechanism of live streaming platforms and characteristics of user-generated content, the goal of this research is to integrate the theoretical lens of parasocial interaction and telepresence to investigate factors that may influence live streaming viewers to provide social support to the streamers. Given that use and gratification, selective reception, and media effects can mutually promote audience's media consumption process, which may affect the attitudes and behaviors stimulated by media, this study further explores five antecedents, sensation seeking, perceived novelty, mediated voyeurism, wishful identification, and loneliness, that may contribute to parasocial interaction and then proposes and tests an integrated model. Method: A sample of 1001 live streaming viewers (467 males; 46.7% and 534 females; 53.3%) who were 20 years and older (M=33.82, SD=7.539) and had donated to streamers was recruited through market research panels and completed the survey. The survey was fielded for two weeks. The questionnaire consisted of 45 questions, including five filter questions to determine participants' eligibility to proceed. All items in this study were measured on a 7-point Likert-type scale, except for demographic questions. Structural equation modeling with maximum likelihood estimations using AMOS 20 was employed for path analysis followed by a bootstrap method to test the mediation effects. Findings: The results demonstrate that three antecedents - namely, perceived novelty (β =.252, p=.000), mediated voyeurism (β =.366, p=.000), and wishful identification (β =.445, p=.000) - positively correlate with parasocial interaction. Sensation seeking (β=.164, p=.000), loneliness (β =.251, p=.000), and parasocial interaction (β =.765, p=.000) have positive relationships with telepresence. The paths from telepresence to three dimensions of social support, emotional (β=.752, p=.000), instrumental (β=.815, p=.000), and financial support (β=.782, p=.000), are particularly salient. Mediation analysis using bootstrapping with 5,000 samples and a bias-corrected 95% confidence interval further reveals that the direct effect from sensation seeking to telepresence is significant (β =.164, p=.000, CI=〔.096, .236〕), but the indirect effect from parasocial interaction to telepresence is not significant. Therefore, the mediation effect from sensation seeking to telepresence through parasocial interaction is not supported. Although the direct effect from loneliness to telepresence is significant (β =.251, p=.000, CI=〔.195, .331〕), the indirect effect from loneliness to telepresence through parasocial interaction is not significant. Thus, the mediation effect from loneliness to telepresence through parasocial interaction is not supported either. Implications: Theoretical implications may be drawn from this study. First, this study takes an active audience perspective to extend the context of selective media exposure and emotional needs and further identifies the antecedents of parasocial interaction. It provides empirical evidence for the causes and consequences of a parasocial experience in live streaming scenarios. Second, this study finds a positive relationship between parasocial interaction and telepresence and further explores the relationships between telepresence and three dimensions of social support (emotional, instrumental, financial). It incorporates media study and consumer behavior research on telepresence to explain live streaming viewers' provision of monetary and non-monetary incentives to the streamers to broaden the application of this concept. Finally, live streaming consists of the characteristics of both mass communication and interpersonal communication as streamers can broadcast media content to a large anonymous audience and at the same time interact with viewers in real time. Therefore, live streaming is considered as a type of masspersonal communication. This study explores how viewers transform the media content exposure into a channel to support the streamers and extends the social support research to a masspersonal communication-mediated environment.
|Relation:||新聞學研究, 150, 45-95|
|Appears in Collections:||[新聞學研究 TSSCI] 期刊論文|
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