Effects of User-Platform Relationship Networks within the Livestreaming Industry

Wolter, Justin, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Ferguson, Sean, EN-Engineering and Society, University of Virginia

My technical capstone project has been to develop a near-future strategy for continuing the development and operation of Facebook Live, Facebook’s livestreaming division. We first determined the system objectives and problem statement to better understand the situation and break down the project goals into different workflows for analysis. The analysis segments into 3 main categories: feature improvement, forecasting to post-COVID operations, and competitive analysis of emerging markets. Each workflow is designed to produce novel propositions for Facebook Live to increase their long-term viewership and growth metrics. Through a synthesis of the components of analysis, the project provides an actionable roadmap for the platform’s development.
My STS research topic explores the utilization of user groups in the design process and how current user-network platform relationships present a valuable proposition for the inclusivity of users in design and media development. As livestreaming forms a bottom-up model of user produced and consumed content, it is important to recognize the user base as a resource for valuable insight into platform operations. The current ecosystem of technical development of digital platforms focuses on top-down decision making from management teams. This paper attempts to validate and promote the future of user co-construction and development of digital technologies such as livestreaming. Livestreaming platforms take a front seat in the revolution and democratization of media. Since the barriers to produce and distribute media content through livestreaming networks is minimal, it disrupts the traditional channels of established media broadcasting.
The idea for researching user focused design principles comes from the growing digitalization of commerce and media. Nearly every person on the globe participates in or consumes media from online sources. As digital platforms evolve to the point of a necessary public service, users need the ability to contribute to the design and development of future disruptive technologies that will alter the way we work, socialize, and spend our leisure time.
I would like to thank Prof. Sean Ferguson for his guidance through the research and development of my STS project. I would also like to thank Prof. William Scherer, James Valeiras, and my capstone team for the phenomenal work towards our conference paper and strategic report delivered to Facebook Live.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
Livestreaming, User networks, Bottom-up models, Inclusive Design, Media Democratization
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