"I am not your friend... or am I?" : how Twitch community relationships and interactions affect belongingness

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Schoos, Julia

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Live-streaming platforms have enjoyed a significant rise in popularity in recent years, particularly after the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic. Twitch, the leading video game livestreaming platform, allows users to form relationships with other chatters through its live content and simultaneous chat, as well as experience parasocial interactions and parasocial relationships with livestreamers. In an online survey, the current study explored what factors drive belongingness for Twitch users (N = 154) in live-streaming communities. Findings show that connectedness, community identity, behavioral involvement, and parasocial relationships are significant predictors of community belongingness. Of these, parasocial relationships and behavioral involvement are the most significant drivers of community belongingness, indicating that audiences seek out and participate in live-streaming communities to satisfy social needs. Parasocial interactions themselves, although necessary to forming parasocial relationships, do not predict belongingness. Finally, the study points to further research about the nature of parasocial relationships on Twitch, the transformation of parasocial interaction to parasocial relationship, as well as how these relationships drive consumer behavior like donations



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