Reflection Blog: Report on the information-seeking behavior and information needs of chosen community.
Report on the information-seeking behavior and information needs of chosen community. Utilize theories covered in the lectures and assigned readings and at least one interview with a community member to craft your post.
According to Spil Games CMO Oscar Diele in the company’s “State of Online Gaming Report,” over 1.2 billion individuals in the world play online games (Diele, 2013). That was 44 percent of the world’s population in 2013 (Diele, 2013). One can see how online gaming has become more than a solitary pastime or hobby. The gaming community has grown beyond playing individual video games on the Xbox or PlayStation consoles, to playing these video games online with others all over the world. Online gaming is growing at a rapid rate, and there is a need for an information-seeking community that centers on online gaming. This has been met through various websites, such as Twitch.tv.
My sister is someone I would refer to as a vigorous video game player. A few years ago she became an active member in the live streaming video game platform called Twitch.tv. The site offers a wide array of tools for the information-seeking video gamer. For this interview, I asked my sister if I could pick her brain about this online community and how she utilizes it for her everyday information-seeking habits as a video game player.
I started by asking her why she uses Twitch.tv, when there are books frequently being published by video game creators on how to successfully beat their various games. She replied, “I think the books give limited amounts of information. Now with Twitch.tv, I can go online and talk to other users about how they beat a level, or even just watch a player to see how they play the game. I can learn a ton of new ways to play a video game and interact with other players online. Before Twitch.tv, it was just me alone with a video game guide book” (personal communication, February 2015). She explained that she is able to watch video games being played in real-time online, or she can go back and watch recaps. There are also chat forums that allow members to talk with one another, while watching a user play a game. She can ask questions, and other members (or even the player being watched) can answer right away. My sister went on to explain how she would much rather talk to other people like herself, who play the same games. She said, “It feels more personal to talk to other users on the site, than to seek out the information from a book by myself” (personal communication, February 2015). This struck a cord with me in reference to the lecture from Debbie Hansen in “Information-Seeking and Information Communities”. Hansen writes, “Community-based identities can also influence the way we go about finding and valuing information” (Hansen, n.d.). My sister’s identity as a video game player is in large part why she prefers to use the site Twitch.tv to communicate with other video game players. After talking more with my sister, I discovered that her identity is intertwined with this online information- community and their information-seeking needs.
Her identity goes much farther than just using the site and playing on it. She now holds the title of Moderator for various games and users on the site. This position is volunteer-based and earned over time. I asked her how she became a Moderator and how she knows what rules to enforce. Everything about this site is volunteer-based and free to anyone who wants to use it. Users can donate money to other users if they want to, but it is not required. She explained that over time, just by being in the forums and hanging out with other users online, you begin to understand the language. There is not an online video game dictionary or a book of rules to follow. She explained, “You have to start off by just going onto Twitch.tv to watch the games and learn new things. You join the chat forums, you don’t even have to talk, just lurk (observe). Over time, you start communicating and making friends. Eventually, players who are being filmed while playing their games online will make you their Moderator for their forums and edited recaps” (personal communication, February 2015). This information community of video gamers allows for users who are information-seeking to be intertwined. They provide and search for information amongst one another and have so forth created a functioning community online.
What I find fascinating about Twitch.tv is how this community thrives and operates. Everything about this information-seeking community is volunteer-based and online. They have their own rules and language. This concept is touched upon in week two’s lecture “Information Seeking Behavior” (Stephens, 2014). With the growing number of video game players going online, this community of video game players is continuing to grow. This is similar to “The Ecological Model of ELIS (Williamson)” and the idea of “perceived needs” by a larger community (Savolainen, 2009). These needs are being addressed and met by others with sites such as Twitch.tv, which allows for members in this information community to converse and share with one another.
Here is a photo of my sister and her boyfriend playing on Twitch.tv. You can see they are being filmed while playing a game. Users can also see the game being played in real time. On the side of the screen is the chat forum for users to communicate with each other.
Diela, O. (2013). State of online gaming report.
Hansen, D. (n.d.). Information-seeking and information communities [Lecture].
Kruse, S. (2015, February). Telephone interview.
Savolainen, R. (2009). Everyday life information seeking. In Encyclopedia of Library
and Information Sciences. Retrieved from http://libaccess.sjlibrary.org/login?
Stephens, M. (2014). Information seeking behavior [Lecture slides]. Retrieved from
Twitch. (n.d.). Retrieved February 5, 2015, from http://www.twitch.tv