The C-Centre, CUHK
The School of Journalism and Communications, CUHK
CEFC Hong Kong
Chris Tan, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology , Shandong University
Recently, the smart phone app Kuaizhoi emerged from China’s cutthroat online entertainment market to become, with more than 400 million registered users, the fourth largest social media platform in the country. An app where users upload pre-recorded videos and a small number of vetted ones live-stream, Kuaishou distinguishes itself from the rest of the pack with the unabashed earthiness of its contents. Invoking Senft’s (2008) concept of the “micro-celebrity”, we make two assertions. Firstly, while performers can earn money an derive emotional satisfaction from their work, they ultimately provide free and easily exploitable labour to Kuaishou under a façade of innocuous play. Secondly, Kuaishou’s abjective videos substantiate the idea of “cultural intimacy” (Herzfeld 1997). While they can be sources of external embarrassment, these videos nonetheless affirm the values of the audience’s moral worlds and provide insiders with an assurance of common solidarity. As such, this talk will provide you deeper understandings to live-streaming apps in China.
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