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Updated: 2018.9.27 05:17
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Star Balloons
[ Issue 159 Page 10 ] Wednesday, December 27, 2017, 23:21:40 Hyunwoo Shin Staff Reporter hwshin0102@kaist.ac.kr

A man screams at the camera as he shakes his body and twitches his eyes violently, thanking everyone for the “Star Balloons” he just received. In the sane world, the man’s actions would be completely incomprehensible and people would view this man with concern. However, in the world of AfreecaTV, he is just BJ Chulgoo, a prize-winning, seven-year veteran live streamer that brings entertaining content to viewers in all forms.

Twitch, AfreecaTV, and Youtube Live are only few of the many new platforms for forms of entertainment that are currently on trend. The new entertainment plug provides the public with a wide variety of content for users to enjoy. There are many streamers that stream their gameplay of famous games, sports broadcasts, and themselves giving life advice as they freely converse with their audience. Although these forms of live streaming have frequently been touted as the start of a new era of entertainment, many streamers, especially those of Twitch and AfreecaTV, frequently get criticized.

The world of live streaming has been denounced for being a mecca for people solely in search of attention. Especially on live streaming platforms such as AfreecaTV and Twitch, streamers are infamous for trying to attract attention from the viewers by any means necessary to receive currency on their respective online platforms (“Star Balloons” for AfreecaTV and “cheers” for Twitch). In the past, streamers have hurt themselves and have shown controversial behavior on the computer screen only to gain views from the public and perhaps be rewarded with online currencies.

Although the public is only now finding fault in live streamers, I believe that many of the people in the entertainment industry have always shown behavior that should be frowned upon. And thus, the fact that people are criticizing live streamers for their attention-seeking behavior is rather ironic and interesting. In nature, the entertainment industry feeds off attention. And to make it clear, it is not a bad thing to feed off of the attention of the public. The only “bad thing”, to be honest, is to be looking at this current situation/ dilemma as if society has never experienced this situation before.

Looking at this issue in a more critical view also sheds light to a rather bigger dilemma in our current society. Technically, when we give these streamers rewards through online currency, aren’t we also asking for some attention? Aren’t we also trying to gain attention from the streamers, trying to make ourselves known to them? Furthermore, if we were to apply such a train of thought on our society in general, aren’t we all also the product of attention?

When we dress up for a specific occasion, when we make our voices heard as we try talking over a noisy crowd, arguably, we are performing certain actions to gain attention. The main point I am trying to make is definitely not to start justifying these streamers for attempting to gain attention through dangerous and rather disturbing means. What I am trying to get through is for people to understand that looking for attention is not a wrong thing. It is as if one of the motivating factors of human life is to seek attention in order to exist, to a certain extent. When we look at all the accolades that are awarded to people who make great achievements, we can really see that it is as if humans need to receive attention for being different from others. This causes people to work towards certain criteria set by society and eventually receive praise for their abilities. In society, we might just all be streamers that constantly seek attention from each other and, from time to time, react emotionally or ecstatically when “Star Balloons”, in the form of rewards and accolades, are handed to us. Before judging and blindly hating on certain aspects of our life, I think everyone should take a step back and take a more objective view on the subject.

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