I use this blog as a soap box to preach (ahem... to talk :-) about subjects that interest me.

Monday, July 28, 2014

A World of Exibitionists and Voyeurs

On 2014-07-25, the Los Angeles Times reported "Google reportedly finalizes deal for live stream service Twitch".

In case you don't know, Twitch Interactive offers live streaming of people playing video games.

Google paid 1G$ (1 billion US dollars) to gain control of Twitch.  It sounds outragious to me, perhaps because I stopped playing wideogames when PacMan and Pong were the rage of the time.  But it makes sense: Twitch has 45 million unique viewers per month (up from 3.2M since the site was launched three years ago).  "Twitchers" spend daily an average of 106 minutes watching somebody else play video games, and 58% of them do it for more than 20h a week.  And when Google will merge Twitch into YouTube, you can reasonably expect that more live activities will be added.

OK.  I admit it: all the craze of the past decade to post selfies and videos has never excited me.  I don't have this urge to show myself to the world.  What motivates me to publish this blog is the hope (dare I say knowledge?) that, among all the chaff I write, there is something that people will find useful or at least entertaining.  Buried among the postings about how to fold toilet paper (Toilet paper woes) and those containing micro-fiction (e.g., Being a Toad), there are more serious articles.  My most-viewed top three (perhaps not surprising, about programming) have so far collected 11,484 page views (OO - UML Behavior Diagrams, OO - UML Structure Diagrams, and Fortran and Eclipse on the Mac).  Very far from the millions of hits of successful videos, but it still gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling to think that I helped thousands of people in a practical way.

Humans are social animals.  We have to give credit to people like Mark Zuckerberg to have recognised it and to have been able to capitalise on it.  It is, in a sense, the logical evolution of the tabloid magazines.  A major difference though is that now everybody can feel a bit like a celebrity, especially if [s]he agrees to bare body and soul to the world!

FaceBook, YouTube, Flicker, and the rest of the "social" web sites let everyone give in to exibitionism and, at the receiving end, voyeurism.  I don't understand how people can spend hours reading and writing gossip.  I only like YouTube because it lets me see old TV programs in B&W and performances of my favourite singers.

The success of Twitch is just one more confirmation of this exibitionism/voyeurism compact that drives the Internet (besides porn, of course).

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