Live streaming as participation: A case study of conflict in the digital and physical spaces of "Supernatural" conventions




Digital culture, Digital public space, Fandom, Periscope


Mobile digital technologies allow copresence in digital and physical spaces, including those surrounding fan conventions. Fans attending these events may wish to share real-time experiences with a wider online community who are keen to participate. However, this can create conflict with other stakeholders. This case study of activities that took place in 2016 and 2017 during Supernatural (2005–) conventions run by Creation Entertainment uses ethnographic and survey methods to examine the effect of technology platforms used for online participation during these events, including live streaming apps such as Periscope. Results show that live streaming provides positive benefit both for fans and the event organizers, and that the liveness of streams can be critical to community building and can encourage ticket purchase. However, lessons can be learned regarding transitions and boundaries between grassroots fan activity and commercial service.

Author Biography

Naomi Jacobs, University of Aberdeen

Research Fellow, School of Computing Science